With the temperature throughout the area reaching record lows, a heating coil burst on the second floor of the Putnam County Courthouse on Saturday morning. County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Commissioner of Highways and Facilities Fred Pena, Administrative Judge for the 9th Judicial District Alan D. Scheinkman and the Sheriff’s Office were immediately notified.
Although the investigation remains ongoing, the burst coil located on the northwest side of the building, caused water damage on the first and second floors. No damage was found on either the third or fourth floors. The building was immediately shut down and crews were called in to start the clean-up and evaluation of damage.
Today, Putnam County, in partnership with the New York State Office of Court Administration, has re-opened the courthouse. County staff and state employees have been relocated to areas within the courthouse that were unaffected by the water damage.
“After determining that damage was limited to the first and second floors, and with the safety and welfare of our County and State employees foremost in our minds, it was determined that there were areas in the unaffected portions of the courthouse where business could safely be conducted,” said Odell.
Acting Public Information Officer Joseph DeMarzo concurred.
“It is business as usual in the courthouse today,” said DeMarzo. “New York State Court Officers have their usual and appropriate security in place.”
Odell recalled that local businesses and homeowners have recently experienced the same problems with freezing pipes.
“With another severe bout of cold weather due in tonight, it is important to keep thermostats turned on and temperatures within homes and businesses warm to avoid freezing or burst water pipes,” she said.
Commissioner Pena stated that outside contractors have been brought in to help evaluate the damage while the primary clean-up work is underway.
“We are in clean-up and dry-up mode right now,” said Pena. “Presently, we have 41 commercial grade blowers and 6 commercial grade de-humidifiers up and running.”
County Executive Odell said restoring the courthouse will be a priority and all County resources will be utilized.