Montour County Courthouse Damaged by Burst Pipe

DANVILLE -- Sue Kauwell was getting ready for work Monday, expecting a normal day as Montour County's prothonotary. But the day was anything but normal.

"6:20 in the morning our maintenance manager called me and said we have a flood in the courthouse. I said, 'Where?' He said, 'In your office,'" Kauwell said.

A hot water pipe burst. The pipe goes from the boiler room in the basement to a wall unit in the prothonotary's office.

"It was right behind my desk. One of the guys said yesterday it's a good thing I wasn't at my desk because I would have gotten burned with steaming hot water when it went," Kauwell said.

The Montour County Courthouse was built in the 1850s.

"We've got building systems that we try to keep on top of. We try to repair and update as often as we can, but clearly, we've got some old pipes that burst," Commissioner Ken Holdren said.

100-degree water soaked the carpet and moisture from steam damaged the ceiling, office furniture, and a map from 1857.

"I don't know that we're going to be able to restore that, that's probably going to be lost," Holdren said.

The only thing that wasn't damaged or destroyed is one of the most important things in here, the files and the old documents.

The prothonotary's office temporarily moved across the hall to the commissioner's meeting room. Commissioner Ken Holdren tells Newswatch 16 the office was up and running in about an hour.

"This office is fundamental to the operation of the county," Holdren said.

Kauwell says she is happy because no one had to wait for service getting important documents.

"That was important to all of us," Kauwell said.

Commissioners do not know the cost of the damage, or when the office will be fixed. They are waiting for the insurance adjuster to come and give an estimate.

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