Pike County Courthouse evacuated

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 12, 2001

Staff Writer

County employees and customers were forced to evacuate the Pike County Courthouse Wednesday morning because of what was believed to be a gas leak.

Despite the smell, especially on the first and second floors, there was no leak.

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As it turned out, the smell of gas reported was the result of a routine check on the lines.

According to Pike County Commission Chairman Willie Thomas, workers from Southeast Alabama

Gas District were conducting an annual check unbeknownst to courthouse officials. Apparently, the new air conditioning unit "picked up the smell" and carried it throughout the courthouse.

"We didn’t know they were working on it," Thomas said of the gas lines.

County Administrator Mark Tyner said employees on the second and first floors first reported smelling gas at approximately 10:15 a.m.

"They called down here to report the smell of gas," said Tyner, whose office is on the basement level.

That floor did not experience the strong smell of gas like the other two floors.

At that time, the source of the smell was unknown, so employees and visitors to the courthouse were evacuated.

Troy Fire and Rescue responded, rolled in some fans and assisted in ventilating the building to remove the odor.

Cause of the smell was quickly identified and everyone was allowed to return to the building in about 15 minutes.

The courthouse recently underwent a renovation project that included the installation of a new air and heating system.