Frozen pipe floods Farmington Courthouse

Posted at 5:34 PM, Dec 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-09 19:51:30-05

FARMINGTON -- A frozen pipe flooded part of the 2nd District Courthouse, evacuating the building and causing about $20,000 in damage.

It happened Monday morning as clerks began their day. Sylvester Daniels, Jr., the trial court executive, said they arrived to a cold building.

"The temperature of the public areas, the hallways and this main clerical area were down below 40 degrees," he told FOX 13.

Daniels said the boiler was on, but the heating system was malfunctioning. It was drawing in freezing air from outside. Once it started to thaw, Daniels said, they knew that if there was a frozen pipe it would start flooding.

It was a sprinkler head for the fire system above the clerk's office that broke, flooding the room.

"Fortunately, it's on its own system so only that one opened up, and sprayed water everywhere," he said.

Water covered desks, computers, copy machines and soaked into the carpets. Clerks did their best to work around it -- setting up tables in the hallway of the nearby juvenile court to handle paperwork and running in and out of the flooded room for files. Most of the courthouse has converted to electronic scanning of court documents, so faxes that came in were dried off and scanned into the system.

This is not the first time this has happened in the Second District Courthouse.

"It happened last year," Daniels said. "It was a little worse then. We had water in the hallways, a lot more water."