Fire sprinklers force students out of U of R residence

About 150 University of Regina students are still out of their residence after a fire alarm and sprinklers forced the evacuation of the school's South Residence early Saturday morning.

About 150 students out of dorms, update expected this afternoon about whether they'll be allowed back

About 350 students were forced out of their residence after the building was evacuated due to a fire alarm and sprinklers. (Courtesy Janelle Wiebe )

About 150 University of Regina students are still out of their residence rooms after a fire alarm and sprinklers forced the evacuation of the school's South Residence tower early Saturday morning. 

The university has been posting updates on Twitter and said students who live on the seventh floor and above will be updated Saturday afternoon about whether they'll be allowed back. There's no word, however, on similar updates for students living on the floors below. 

Janelle Wiebe, who plays for the Cougars softball team, lives in the building and was one of the students woken up by the fire alarms at about 1 a.m. CST. 

"It was pretty eventful," said Wiebe. "I thought it was only going to be an hour one like last time, but then someone said the sprinklers went off and that the entire elevator area was flooded." 

Wiebe said there was a large puddle of water in the lobby of the building, and when she went back to get sports equipment this morning, the stairs were flooded.  
 
 "It was crazy the amount of water that was coming out of the building," she said. "Walking through the Kin' [kinesiology] building this morning it was crazy. Like, there were people crashed out everywhere."

Students are currently having breakfast in the Riddell Centre, where the university has set up an information booth where they can get updated about what's next.  

"During the day we are looking through the building, we're trying to evaluate the damage," said Thomas Chase, Provost and academic Vice-President.

"We're looking at the electrical systems, and our goal is to remediate that damage as quickly as we can and get those students back into their residence rooms." 

Chase said there was no evidence of a fire, and it's still not clear why the sprinkler system was triggered. He said much of the damage seems to be on the second and sixth floors of the building, though contractors are still going through to evaluate where else the water has run.

He didn't know yet if some students would be able to return to their rooms tonight. The university is putting together a contingency plan to accommodate students off-campus if they cannot return to their dorms right away. 

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