As we reported last week, the fire continued to burn for another week due to a deposit of coal in the basement of the courthouse. Hancock County officials, architects, and disaster recovery experts completed initial damage assessments last week.
- The modern steel elevator doors and other hollow steel doors melted completely away, indicating that the fire temperature exceeded 1000 degrees.
- The debris will be treated as contaminated and abatement has begun.
- Abatement professionals will try to salvage historic architectural features and clock parts.
- Document recovery experts estimate 279 cu. ft. of records may be saved.
- Recent messages from the architect said the salvaged fireproof safes and cabinets contained piles of ash when opened, though they were found tightly closed.
- Plans have been drawn for stabilization of the structure and work has begun and should be completed by Friday.
- Discussions have begun with architects on the new floor plans of the courthouse. Most of the structure will be restored to its original configuration. The Courtroom level will be redesigned meet the modern needs of today’s Judicial System requirements.
We will continue to monitor the situation. At this time, there is no need for HERA volunteers.
Christine Wiseman and Tina Seetoo