Local News

Chatham commissioners vote to rebuild courthouse

Posted March 31, 2010

— The Chatham County Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday to rebuild its historic courthouse that was damaged in an accidental fire last week.

Chatham courthouse will rise again Chatham courthouse will rise again

Crews were also working to reopen part of the traffic circle around the courthouse, but it was unclear when it would be ready for drivers.

Pittsboro Detour Map

Fire Marshal Thomas Bender told commissioners that a worker was using a soldering torch on the southwest corner of the building when the torch fell, hit some wood and started the fire.

No charges are expected.

All four walls of the courthouse, which was built in 1881, appear to be fairly stable, officials said. The foundation also looks stable, but it must be dried out to remove the water.

“The wind and the old heart pine timbers provided highly flammable fuel which contributed significantly to the intensity of the fire in the building,” Bender said.

Workers with a roofing subcontractor tried to extinguish the fire but were unsuccessful, said Todd Snyder, vice president of Progressive Contracting Co., which had been restoring the building. He declined to name the subcontractor.

The State Bureau of Investigation will release an official report within the next few weeks, Bender said.

The county already had plans to start building a new justice center in a few months.

Insurance companies are conducting multiple investigations on the fire, which has stalled the cleanup process.

Meanwhile, weekly sessions of Superior Court in Chatham County will continue to be at the District Court building across the street, Judge Allen Baddour said Monday. These will include sessions to hear motions and pleas for cases.

“However, it is too early to know when Superior Court can resume jury trials. We are hard at work with the Administrative Office of the Courts and Chatham County officials to resume these as soon as possible,” Baddour said.


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  • chevybelair57sd Apr 1, 2010

    surprise surprise, they just said they are building a brand new justice center and this courthouse will be largely window dressing. This shows how much concideration NC all the waydown to county has for the tax payer. Of course we deserve this consideration for putting the same party in power for 20+ years.

  • affirmativediversity Mar 31, 2010

    Now's as good a time as ever to get rid of that inaccessible relic and build an accessible Courthouse that ALL citizens can enjoy!

  • delilahk2000 Mar 31, 2010

    On the news they said that they will have to have a fund raiser and tax money to rebuild. Why, doesn't the company that caused the fire have ins. to pay for it? tax money should not be needed.

  • 3779LRRP Mar 31, 2010

    I haven't heard any comment about a sprinkler system installed in the courthouse. Was there one? If not... Why not?

  • Chapel Hill Conservative Mar 31, 2010

    I would imagine the restoration company (whose sub accidentally burned it down) carried enough insurance to cover the costs associated with reconstruction. I doubt the town of P-boro would have hired a company to do the work that wasn't fully insured.

  • Chapel Hill Conservative Mar 31, 2010

    buffalobills-evil-twin: "millions of tax dollars well spent..................not."

    Millions of tax dollars being spent on what?

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Mar 31, 2010

    This is wasted money that could be better spent on building a new courthouse.

  • buffalobills-evil-twin Mar 31, 2010

    millions of tax dollars well spent..................not.

  • Chapel Hill Conservative Mar 31, 2010

    I'd like to see the "courthouse" turned into a Pittsboro/ Chatham museum. Rebuild it to look the same as it did on the outside, but ditch the courtrooms inside.

  • snshine62d Mar 31, 2010

    Glad they decided to rebuild.........P-Town just isn't the same without it.