Gresham, OR (KOIN) – A woman who was reportedly not happy she wasn’t being discharged fast enough from a local hospital is now charged with arson after police say she caused the hospital’s sprinkler system to activate, flooding a hallway, two bathrooms and three emergency rooms.
Laura Elizabeth Samuel, 33, is charged with one count each of First-Degree Arson, First-Degree Criminal Mischief, and First-Degree Disorderly Conduct.
Gresham Fire Department firefighters responded at 2:55 a.m. to a commercial alarm coming from Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center on Friday, February 12th. When crews arrived, they learned that the fire suppression system had been activated.
Gresham Police Department spokesperson Officer John Rasmussen said Samuel became frustrated with how long it was taking for her to be discharged from the emergency room.
“Hoping to accelerate the process (Samuel) is said to have first broken the telephone in her room,” Rasmussen said. “Not drawing the attention she desired, Samuel appears to have then used the phone’s battery to break a fire alarm light in a nearby hallway bathroom. When breaking the light did not sound the alarm, Samuel focused on the hospital’s sprinkler system.”
Police said she was able to use a heat source to compromise the sprinkler head, which let out 60 gallons of water per minute into two bathrooms, the adjoining hallway, and three hospital rooms.
A spokesperson with Legacy Health was looking into how much damage was caused.
Samuel is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday in downtown Portland.
Police said Samuel had been taken to the hospital for evaluation, but could not provide additional information because of privacy laws.