PDT Staff Writer
The snow and heavy rains Monday and a clogged downspout on the roof of the Scioto County Courthouse contributed to the flooding of Fourth District Court of Appeals Presiding Judge Matt McFarland’s third floor office.
As a result of the flood and damage, McFarland sent his staff to work from home while he and others sop through the office trying to preserve what they can and while crews work to repair the damage. At points on Monday morning, it was raining inside McFarland’s office.
“We were alerted this morning there were issues, so we came into this and obviously it’s uninhabitable at this point. It’s not safe for my staff so, we will have to obviously shutdown temporarily until it’s safe to work in again.”
The damage to the third floor office was notable.
“The carpet is soaking wet and puddled in places. You’ve celling tiles that are ready to fall (along with some that had) and some of our computer equipment has been very wet,” McFarland said.
He said it was too early mid-Monday morning to know the full extent of the damage.
As far as solutions to the damage, McFarland said, “we’ll have to see what the commissioners are going to do as it relates to the problem. We’ll have to save as much as we can and protect the files as best as we can.”
As far as records stored within the office getting damaged, he said some of the court transcripts received some water damage.
“Obviously this is disappointing from the operation of our court,” McFarland said.
McFarland said a similar situation occurred in his office in 2010 and it took a week and a half before his office was operational.
As far as when his office will open again, McFarland was uncertain.
Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners Mike Crabtree said the mess was made by litter.
“We have a backed up downspout from a disposable pop bottles that someone dropped down in the drain. As a result, the water became backed up, it ran over, so it’s raining in his office basically,” Crabtree said. “I think the problem has stopped. But, somebody either accidentally or purposefully dropped a disposable plastic pop bottle down in the drain and created a situation.”
Commissioner Doug Coleman said the county maintenance supervisor came in early Monday and removed the bottle. He said that corrected the situation or it could have been a lot worse.
“If it was not for him, it could have been worse than what it was,” Coleman said.
Crabtree said the situation is going to have to be corrected soon to prevent mildew or mold. He said he has been in contact with the county’s insurance company to explore the possibility of a claim.
“I know he (McFarland) sent his people home today. I know we’re going to try to get everything dried up today. I don’t know that we can have someone put in brand new carpet in today,” Crabtree said regarding the cleanup. “Obviously we’ll have to do something to fix some of the problems, is that just replacing the carpet I don’t know.”
Crabtree said one of the first things he considered about the situation was the current condition of the Courthouse roof.
“The first thing I asked when I got here was if it was a problem with the roof. Was it something they left off the roof that they had not gotten to yet. The answer was no,” Crabtree said. “It’s not a roof problem, it’s a downspout problem. Someone either accidentally or purposefully put a pop bottle down there and that created a situation.”
He said crews are about a third of the way finished with the installation of a new roof on the courthouse.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.