Thousands in damage estimated after Dinwiddie Courthouse pipe failure

By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: January 23, 2019 | 3:13p.m.

Despite damage, court being held as normal as courtrooms, records were untouched by pipe failure

DINWIDDIE – Early damage estimates are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars following a pipe failure at the Dinwiddie County Courthouse Monday, which caused significant damage to parts of the building.

In an interview, Dinwiddie County Administrator Kevin Massengill said a sensor in the building’s HVAC system made a request for fresh air from outside the building, which, due to the cold temperatures in the region of late, resulted in a pipe rupturing, causing significant damage to Dinwiddie County General District Court’s administrative suite and the downstairs court services area. The pipe failure spared the county’s circuit court area and its records.

According to Massengill, it isn’t known exactly when the failure occurred as the offices were closed for an extended period of time beginning last Friday for celebration of Lee-Jackson Day and Monday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Even still, the county administrator said this leak is the largest that has occurred in the building’s 20 years of operation.

This is a significant leak that had occurred,” he said. “A lot of water was displaced throughout the building.”

Since the incident, the county’s insurance company has been to the building to evaluate the damage as water cleanup and restoration company Servpro came in to deal with the water damage while also addressing its possible residual impacts, such as mold.

The Dinwiddie County Courthouse has continued to operate with business as usual in terms of holding court, but the county and its insurance company are scoping out the damage from a pipe failure that has affected key parts of the building. (Michael Campbell)

It does smell of water on carpet,” Massengill said about the odor some may smell when coming to the building. “When we went there and ServPro came in and they were doing their mitigation, they actually sprayed everything with a mold spore chemical that kills the spores. That being said, we have a significant renovation that has to take place now to get the offices back up and running.”

Things from office work spaces, computers, copiers, along with sheetrock and millwork in the General District and court services area were damaged in the failure but, even with that damage, both courts have continued operations and have not shut down, Massengill said.

For something like this, again, the courthouse hasn’t missed a day of operation,” he remarked. “This is unfortunate and unforeseen, but the staff there is resilient and have been committed to keeping open to the public, along with the judges so they should be commended for that.”

In terms of cost, Massengill said early estimates are around $200,000 to $300,000 in damages from the pipe failure. The county is looking to their insurance company to help cover the costs, with any overages being paid for out of the county’s undesignated fund balance.

MIchael Campbell will have more on this story in the next edition of The Dinwiddie Monitor

Copyright 2019 by Womack Publishing
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