Houston County Courthouse Closed After Air Conditioning Line Burst

By: Denise Bradberry Email
By: Denise Bradberry Email

Judges, jurors and witnesses all showed up at the Houston County courthouse Monday morning only to be turned away. Little did they know that the trial that was going on inside had nothing to do with the court of law.

"Everything is closed"

Those are the words person after person heard as they tried to report to the Houston County courthouse Monday morning for jury duty because the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors were drenched in water.

"It was really a lot a lot of water," said Lillian Deese a housekeeper at the courthouse.

"There is lots of water in the hallways. We don't want anyone to slip and fall and get hurt,” said Carla Woodall the Circuit Court Clerk.

There was about three to four inches of water.

Officials say a coupling on the air conditioner's chiller line came loose... spilling water down the 4th floor hallways and into courtrooms until it seeped through to the story below.

The third floor sustained the most damage because the ceiling, walls and floor were all affected.

The water doesn't stop there... it continued onto the 2nd floor... but not for long before maintenance crews got to work cleaning up the slippery mess around 3 a.m. Monday morning.

"Right now you just get your equipment up here as far as extractors and shop vacs. Anything with this size to get the water up and begin the drying process before secondary issues come into play,” said Wayne Anderson with Service Pro of Dothan.

Their next step is to remove the soggy ceiling tiles, and begin the drying process with air movers and dehumidifiers.

"The floors have to make sure they are good and dry. We don't want mold and mildew,” said Woodall.

Although working in the courthouse today was both hot and wet... the circuit court clerk says that people in the public are the ones being put out the most.

She said, "We have trials that have been stopped. We have witnesses coming, we have jurors coming. It's a big inconvenience to the public who is trying to get their trial."

Flooding was one trial personnel at the Houston County courthouse did not want to have to face in the court room.

Woodall says that they hope to have court back in session Tuesday morning.

They are asking jurors to return at 8 a.m.

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