Most people on campus have probably noticed the steam that comes from Keene State College’s underground steam piping system all along Appian Way. On April 3, a KSC staff member experienced burns to her leg after a leak from the system allowed a sinkhole to develop next to a sidewalk, according to an email update sent out by Director of Physical Plant Operations Frank Mazzola.
“What probably happened is hot water leaked from the pipe and saturated the earth,” Mazzola said. “From the surface it probably didn’t look any different, but when she stepped in it, it went up to her calf.”
In the email update, it was stated that when leaks occur the physical plant department protocol is to secure the affected area with metal barricades and schedule a repair as soon as possible. However, since the risk was not noticeable at this time, a barricade had not been put up in that area yet. According to Mazzola, there was a barricade adjacent to the affected area at that time.
The physical plant department has secured the site and will replace 150’ feet of pipe beginning April 15. According to the email update, the work with the system will be completed prior to commencement.
Mazzola and the rest of the physical plant department ask those on campus to be aware of their surroundings and report any hazardous conditions they see.
The staff member who was burned did not respond to request for comment.
Rachel Vitello can be contacted at