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UPDATE: Milwaukee courthouse repairs top $10M from fire

UPDATED Friday, November 29, 2013 --- 7:15 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Costs related to a fire last summer at the Milwaukee County Courthouse have topped $10 million but investigators still don't know for sure what caused it.

The July fire broke out on a Saturday and no one was injured, but it closed the courthouse for several days. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Friday that the $10 million spent in recovery so far mainly covers costs of cleanup and temporary power extension, and that costs are likely to grow by at least several million more to replace electrical components.

The state Insurance Commissioner has launched an investigation into the cause of the fire. A county official says faulty electrical equipment is the focus; a report last February found the system was last upgraded in 1965.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press
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UPDATED Tuesday, July 16, 2013 --- 7:50 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- An electrical fire that closed the Milwaukee County Courthouse for a week could cost about $2 million to clean up.

County Comptroller Scott Manske tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel a restoration firm hired for the cleanup suggested the sum.

County Executive Chris Abele has said he's optimistic the county's property insurance will cover the costs, after the county pays the $75,000 deductible.

Parts of the courthouse reopened Monday, but county officials have not said when they expect to have the full courthouse reopened.

The Milwaukee Fire Department responded July 6 after a short circuit in a courtroom outlet.

Ceiling panels throughout the building are being replaced, carpets are being cleaned or replaced, and walls and furniture are being washed to get rid of smoke damage.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, July 11, 2013 --- 7:35 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The upper floors of the Milwaukee County Courthouse will reopen Monday while the cleanup continues from a fire last weekend.

A firm date for the reopening of the rest of the building hasn't been determined, but officials say it could come later next week.

County Executive Chris Abele tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/18corkF ) the progress is remarkable, considering initial estimates that it would take six to eight weeks to clean the 1932 building from smoke damage following the electrical fire last weekend.

Visitors on Monday will be escorted to elevators from the first or ground floors and will be able to access the fourth through seventh floors of the building, which are devoted to courtrooms. Jury trials will resume Monday.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press
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UPDATED: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 --- 7:29 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Officials in Milwaukee say the courthouse there will be closed for the rest of the week -- if not longer -- after a weekend fire.

Scores of workers were at the courthouse Tuesday, trying to clean up debris and smoke damage from Saturday's fire.

County official Julie Esch told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that every inch of the building must be cleaned before the courthouse reopens.

The adjacent Safety Building also is being cleaned after the fire, but county officials say it will reopen Wednesday. All criminal court cases, including those that were scheduled for the Courthouse, will be heard at the Safety Building or the Criminal Justice Facility.

The cause of the fire has still not been determined.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 --- 5:57 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Officials in Milwaukee say the courthouse there will be closed for the rest of the week -- if not longer -- after a weekend fire.

Scores of workers were at the courthouse Tuesday, trying to clean up debris and smoke damage from Saturday's fire.

County official Julie Esch told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that every inch of the building must be cleaned before the courthouse reopens.

The adjacent Safety Building also is being cleaned after the fire, and county officials say it could reopen Wednesday.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013 --- 4:27 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee County Courthouse and Public Safety Building will be closed Monday and Tuesday after a weekend fire that caused more than a half-million dollars of damage.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the fire started Saturday afternoon in a large basement utility room with numerous electrical systems inside. It caused a power failure for a portion of downtown, including the responding fire station, which used a generator to open its garage doors and send trucks.

All court cases and jury duty for Monday and Tuesday have been postponed. 911 calls are being fielded by dispatchers at the Waukesha County communications center. Employees who work at the building are being told not to report unless told otherwise by a manager.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


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