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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pipe Burst Floods Superior Court

BRENTWOOD – Rockingham County Superior Court was evacuated shortly before noon after a pipe burst, soaked parts of the third floor and poured down through the lower floors.

The Brentwood Fire Department was called to the courthouse, located along Route 125, shortly before noon.

Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Bird said a pipe broke close to where a maintenance crew was doing work in the building.

The leak was near an elevator used to transport prisoners toward the back of the courthouse and poured through internal sections of the building.

He said crews stopped the leak and assessed whether the water damage was seeping into the building's electrical system before turning the building back over to court officials.

"The decision to reopen is up to them," Bird said. "The leak is under control and now they're trying to salvage what they can."

Bird said water dampened some areas near the electrical system but did not pose any danger.

One trial was underway in courtroom 6 when the pipe gave way. That case was cancelled at least until Friday.

Several probation violation hearings scheduled for 1 p.m. were also cancelled.

Court security officers spent the lunch hour turning away lawyers and people coming either to court or the registry of deeds office located on the basement floor of the building.

They remained posted at the front of the building Thursday afternoon to tell jurors returning from lunch that the courthouse was closed for the rest of the day.

The fire department remained on the scene for about an hour.

Court officials are still assessing the damage and may not determine until Friday morning when the building will reopen.

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