Pandini’s shut down operations on Nov. 8 due to a “mechanical malfunction” the night before, according to an official email sent out to Stevenson University residents by Dr. Sarah Mansfield, assistant vice president for residence life and housing.
A sprinkler head above the oven malfunctioned and caused water to leak on the carpeted floor in Pandini’s and Rockland Marketplace; there was also some damage to the ceiling.
The chairs, sofa and tables often seen in Pandini’s were moved into the Rockland lobby while the eatery was being inspected and cleaned the morning of Nov. 8.
Those working in Pandini’s at the time, most of whom did not witness the incident, were asked to help clean. When employees were first questioned about what happened, they were unable to comment.
Rob Reed, director of auxiliary services, was able to explain the situation. An older sprinkler head that was near the oven malfunctioned, most likely because of the constant heat. Since then, the sprinkler head has been replaced with a stronger version and the other sprinkler heads have been inspected.
“We’re very protective when there’s an event going on that uses smoke or heat or something, we’re very cognizant of that. If somebody came in and wanted to run candles or something in a small room, we have to be careful. If they turn off the sprinkler head… security has to stay there to watch in the event that anything happens,” said Reed.
THE CLEANUP BEGINS
After the water came out of the broken sprinkler head, it spilled onto the floor and into the Marketplace. Reed said that they were then required to take readings on the wall between the two food locations to ensure everything was safe, which led to the community side of Rockland to be closed.
The other half of Rockland continued to serve food until midnight on Nov. 8 to make up for the loss of Pandini’s later hours.
Both the fire marshall and the health inspector checked everything out; Reed and the inspector walked through the site at 1:30 a.m. before finally getting the okay to reopen on November 9 later that morning.
“I didn’t witness it, but it feels like there was no water here. It’s normal,” confirmed Stephanie Abaga, an employee at Pandini’s. The day before was spent reshampooing all of the carpets, rewaxing the floors and cleaning down the overhead signs, machines, and serving trays.
“What wound up [happening] was Pandini’s got a good cleaning,” said Reed.