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Sprinkler break damages stone courthouse

courthouse, ceiling tileBy MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

 

Pulaski County’s historic stone courthouse sustained damage Wednesday evening when the sprinkler system on the top floor burst, sending water spilling onto all four floors.

County Administrator Peter Huber said firefighters from Pulaski and Dublin fire departments responded to the scene and did a tremendous job vacuuming up water.”

Most of the damage was confined to ceiling tiles, electric circuit insulation and drywall, according to Huber. The building’s contents received only “minimal” damage.

County Commissioner of the Revenue Trina Rupe said employees of that office, on the second floor, noticed water dripping from the ceiling just before 5 p.m. and notified county maintenance that there was a problem. However, shortly after maintenance personnel arrived on the scene the fire alarm activated, summonsing the fire department.

Although some personal items and supplies were damaged, Rupe said county records were not damaged.

Offices in the courthouse were open this morning. Rupe said the plan is to keep them open, but they may be forced to close for a period of time as repairs and cleanup continues. Citizens should call in advance if they plan to visit an office in the old courthouse building.

Pulaski Fire Chief Bill Webb said his department learned of the break when the fire alarm activated. He wasn’t sure how much water was released into the building, but said, “hundreds of gallons probably. A little water goes a long way when it’s in a building like that.”

Webb said his department responded with four pieces of equipment and 16 people and Dublin assisted with one piece of equipment and an undetermined amount of personnel. “We still have some salvage work going on at the scene,” he said this morning.

Besides helping to vacuum up water, Webb said firefighters used plastic sheeting to build tents over computer equipment and to cover other items in offices to protect them from damage. Most emergency responders were able to clear the scene by 9.

Huber said the sprinkler system was repaired by 9 p.m. and officials were able to confirm no other pipes in the building were frozen.

“As long as they’re frozen, it’s not a problem,” Webb said of pipes that freeze and burst. It’s when they thaw that problems develop.

The fire department also responded to a residence at 3741 Valley Road at 4:29 p.m. Wednesday after a busted pipe thawed and flooded a kitchen. Two firefighters and one piece of equipment responded to help vacuum up the water and turn off water to the home.

Webb said another call was received just before 5 p.m. at 4974 Brookmont Road. In that case, two firefighters responded to help Raymond and Tommy Dalton rescue a cow that had become stranded in a creek.

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