The chimney at Warren County Courthouse is leaning toward the building and considered a safety hazard.
The courthouse issues were addressed at the county’s Building and Grounds Committee meeting Tuesday night and among the other issues were the dangers of the leaning chimney.
“One of the critical things that is a safety issue is that furnace chimney that is on the side of the building,” said County Executive Jimmy Haley. “It was added probably in the 1930s and it is deteriorated, it has lost mortaring and it is leaning toward the building. If it falls into the building, it will go through the roof and into the courtroom and anybody that is in there is going to have some difficulty surviving.”
The chimney has apparently been leaning for months, but has recently begun to lean toward the building more. Haley says a chimney of that size falling through the building is sure to do considerable damage.
“A chimney that size falling into the courtroom, there is nothing to stop it,” said Haley. “There is a rod anchored to the roof that if it falls it is going to pull it into the building,
but I noticed yesterday that the mortar on that outside facing the post office is also deteriorating as well. The inside is visibly leaning and it is leaning more than it was six months ago.”
Maintenance Department director Greg Bowdoin says the chimney is not serving any purpose and says he has reached out to multiple companies to move it to roof level and cap it off, but either no one wants to do it or they are 6-8 months out.
Porter Roofing is the only company to get back to him and can do it for $10,858. In order for anything to be done about the leaning chimney, Haley says they will have to go before the city to get a permit for it and go before the Historic Zoning Commission.
“It is a danger and it is a safety issue and it is a liability issue and the damage it would cause falling into the building is going to be a whole lot more to fix and if we lose a life or if people are injured when this happens it is going to be a critical thing for the — we knew that it needs to be addressed,” Haley said.
The committee made a motion to award Porter Roofing the money for the chimney removal using the Governor’s Grant money pending approval from the city and from Historic Zoning.