Janitor Causes Millions In Damage After What He Unplugged

A janitor caused a million dollars in damages after he unplugged a freezer containing over 20 years of research, according to The Western Journal. While working at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York, the janitor reportedly heard an incessant beeping noise coming from one of the freezers holding specimens. 

Days before the incident, on September 14, 2020, RPI noticed that the alarm to the freezer was going off. The alarm notifies researchers when specimens reach certain temperature milestones. The professor leading the research called in for repairs but given the state of the world at the time, everything was delayed. 

Instead, a note was left on the freezer, advising that it is not turned off or unplugged. It also stated that no cleaning is needed in the area before suggesting that if the beeping is causing a disturbance, then it can be muted by holding the mute button for five to ten seconds. 

Three days later, the janitor, who works for Daigle Cleaning Services, heard the alarm and was annoyed. To correct the issue, he flipped the circuit breaker, turning off or resetting the freezer, which sent the specimens to temperatures that killed them. RPI is now suing the cleaning service that they have regularly used. 

The lawsuit states that as a result of the janitor’s decision, the samples are destroyed, killing with it more than 20 years of photosynthesis research. The objective of the research was reportedly for solar panels. 

The incident has some questioning both the institute and the janitor. One user took to Twitter to criticize RPI for not having better protocols in place to prevent the situation, like using backup generators. But another user expressed his approval that RPI is pursuing legal action, noting that the janitor’s job was not to touch anything he was not supposed to.