FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: “POLAR VORTEX”

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001

January 7, 2014

“POLAR VORTEX”

With the Artic freeze continuing to affect the Northeast, the Putnam County Court House experienced problems this morning.  At approximately 8:00 am a fire sprinkler head on the fourth floor east wing burst, partially flooding the 4th & 3rd floor.  Commissioner Fred Pena said “due to the quick action of the Highway staff, crews who were in the building making rounds, when the sprinkler head burst, were able to shut of the water to minimize damage”. 

Administrative Judge for the 9th Judicial District Alan D Scheinkman said “we’ve had a number of weather related issues in several of our court facilities around the district, including Putnam County.  The County Executive and her team are on the situation and we expect that it’s going to be remedied very quickly and we expect to be operational tomorrow.  All essential operations have alternative sites for the day using the County Office building and Historic Courthouse”.

As the temperatures continued to hover well below freezing, the County Executive convened the Incident Response Team in the Courthouse to evaluate the current situation and formulate a response plan.  “The situation today is that we have closed the building while we are assessing the sprinkler system” said County Executive Odell.  “We have to maintain safety as our first priority and because the fire suppression system is off line we don’t feel that occupancy at this time would be in the best interest of the safety and welfare of the employees and of course the visitors to our building.  After we have evaluated the assessment we will make a determination on what the next step will be, whether it is reopening the building or reallocating court operations and personnel to other county facilities”.