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Burst pipe at County’s Hall of Justice Building to cost big bucks

Wayne County Administrator, Rick House, updated the County’s Finance Committee that last weekend’s frozen pipe rupture will cost taxpayers  up to $50,000.

On Sunday (1/7), when temperatures fell well below zero, the only area in the building that was not insulated, the vestibule  (front door entrance) spewed water. House said the fire sprinkler head in the vestibule ruptured, sending streams of water out the front door and into the first floor of the building. The first floor was discovered by the County’s Public Works staff responded to the site on Sunday and immediate actions were taken.  The cost of emergency repairs to the building was approved on Sunday by the County Administrator, Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Public Works Committee.

The Hall of Justice is a County-owned building that is leased to the State for their court activities. ServPro, a private franchise recovery/restoration company was immediately called in. As much as three inches of water had to be removed from first floor offices. Lu Engineering, out of Rochester, has been contracted to conduct air -quality evaluations that will continue into late January.

By Monday morning, most of the standing water was removed from the fist floor, occupied by the state court system. At the Tuesday Finance Committee meeting house reported: “Damage appears to be confined to the first floor. All standing water has been removed and efforts are underway to dry out carpet and other wet areas in the structure,” said the County Administrator.  Still the wet carpets and damp surroundings had to be dealt with. House said no equipment, computers and various office machines were not damaged. He stated that some files piled on the floors at the time of the pipe burst were damaged.

The State Courts were offered vacant space in the County Court House for their use, they refused the offer. House said the County did not feel comfortable allowing staff and the public into the building without having air quality tests performed.

On the upper floors, where the District Attorney’s Office is located, as well as court rooms and the grand jury room, remained closed until Wednesday. Court appearances were juggled around to make up for lost days.

Grand Jury was scheduled for Monday (1/8), but jurists showing up were sent home. Due to Monday’s (1/15) Federal Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, grand jury will begin on Tuesday (1/16).

House stated that on Thursday (1/11) he inspected the first floor area and said that except for some finishing work, it seemed to be back to normal.