Woman Frustrated with ER wait time sets off fire sprinklers
Posted: Jun 11, 2015 5:40 PM PDTUpdated: Jun 11, 2015 5:59 PM PDT
FOX 46 News (WJZY) -- A woman frustrated with long wait times in a North Carolina hospital's emergency room held a lighter to a sprinkler, dousing the entire ER in water.
A police report says "copious amounts of water" flooded the emergency room. The responding officer called the scene "chaotic and disastrous" when he got there, as employees rushed to move patients from the ER to a conference area. The hospital says there was between .5 and 6 inches of water standing in the ER.
Police say Katlyn Milligan, 20, told them she'd been in Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge in Morganton, NC for at least 1.5 hours, waiting for her mother's girlfriend to be treated for a back problem. Milligan said she grew impatient, so she went to the women's bathroom, turned a trash can upside down, stood on it, and held a lighter to a sprinkler for at least a minute.
Water damage caused ceiling tiles to crumble in the hospital. No word yet on if other people in the ER were seriously impacted by the activated sprinklers.
After the sprinklers went off, doctors admitted Milligan to the ER to check her for exposure to stagnated water from the sprinkler. Once she was discharged, police took her into custody.
Katlyn Milligan was charged with burning personal property, damage to personal property, and molesting a fire extinguishing system. She was arrested, and given a $5,000 secured bond.
Milligan told police she'd been charged in Florida before for making a bomb threat.
We reached out to Milligan for comment. She told FOX 46, “I'm sorry I don't want to be bothered.”
ProPublica did a study on hospitals to compare ER wait times in December 2014. They found most patients at Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge aren't waiting as long as other patients in other areas of the state or nation. The study says the average wait time in the Blue Ridge ER as of December 1, 2014 was 30 minutes.