St. Thomas Newsroom

Water-sprinkler Activated in Fifth-floor Room of Dowling Hall Wednesday Morning

About 450 residents of Dowling Hall had to evacuate the six-story women’s residence hall early Wednesday morning, May 6, when a water-sprinkler head began spraying water in one of the building’s fifth-floor rooms.

University of St. Thomas Public Safety officers responded to the residence hall at 6:48 a.m. when a water-flow alarm indicated that the building’s sprinkler system had been deployed. The St. Paul Fire Department was on the scene six minutes later.

Students evacuated the building immediately; they were allowed to return to their rooms about half an hour later, at 7:22 a.m. The St. Paul Fire Department left campus at that time.

“It is unclear why the sprinkler head deployed,” said Michael Barrett, associate director of Public Safety. “An investigation is underway, but we can say there was no malicious intent in this case.”

The room with the activated sprinkler suffered water damage. Water also seeped into the hallway outside the room, under the doors of some adjacent fifth-floor rooms, and to a small area of the fourth floor. There were no injuries, and a dollar estimate of the damage is not yet available.