A few dozen folks working for the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office in Conway will be relocating or working remotely, possibly until January, thanks to a faulty fire sprinkler.
The failure also caused a toilet to break, said Solicitor Jimmy Richardson, and the resulting aqua assault hit his offices from the air and ground.
Fifty-five to 60 people will have to relocate. Some will go to a solicitor’s office building on 11th Avenue and Bell Street that houses intervention programs.
“[Clerk of Court] Renee [Norris Elvis] has found some space in the courthouse,” Richardson said. “We’ve got another building that’s rented. Hopefully we’ll be cleaned up and we’ll be ready to go by January. The third floor isn’t affected at all and the second floor where the family court is, that wasn’t affected on that end.”
Richardson found out about the flood around 9 p.m. Monday, and he got to the offices in the Horry County Government and Justice Center around 10 p.m. By that time, the fire department wasn’t letting anyone in because tiles had started to fall from the ceiling, he said.
Luckily, the carpet in the offices was getting replaced, and the workers caught the office manager who directed them to put a tarp over the files to keep them from getting wet.
“Those people that lay carpet, they’re the unsung heroes,” Richardson said. “It could have been a lot worse. We would have been drying out 10,000 files right now, and instead we only a have a few that were on the floor of some offices. I bet in total, it’ll be less than 200 files that got wet.”
The loss won’t prevent the solicitor’s office from prosecuting cases, Richardson said, because most of what was in the files that were damaged were police records that they can retrieve again from law enforcement agencies.
“The good news is if there ever is a fire, there’s plenty of water to put it out with,” Richardson said. “It made a real dent in the place.”
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