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Published: Tuesday, 7/24/2001

Contractor says he'll pay for courthouse damage

BOWLING GREEN - Damage from a flash flood inside the Wood County Courthouse could reach $50,000, but the contractor responsible for the mess says the company will pay the cleanup and repair bills.

A damp, musty odor hung in the air yesterday as workers continued to dry out, clean up, and assess the damages.

“Carpet was damaged, ceiling tiles were damaged, computer equipment was damaged,” Darcy Wilhelm, fiscal manager for the county, said. “There was damage to security equipment, damage to a court reporter's stenograph equipment, which I'm told could cost $7,000 alone.”

About 5 p.m. Saturday a sudden downpour sent water rushing through a hole in the building that had been cut but not patched by a roofing contractor the day before. The water poured into the courtroom's fourth-floor attic and leaked into some offices, an evidence storage room, and down the back staircase.

Clerk of Courts Rebecca Bhaer, who was working in her office at the time, knew something was wrong when the fire alarm sounded and she heard water running in the building.

“I'm just thankful it set off a fire alarm and that it didn't rain for too long,” Ms. Bhaer said.

“You don't find a lot of elected officials willing to climb up on a four-story roof in the middle of the night,” Ms. Bhaer said. “I think he deserves a lot of credit.”

Mr. Perkins, 68, who worked as a union plumber and pipefitter before he was elected county commissioner, said it didn't take too long for him to spot the 6-inch-by-7-inch hole where the water had come in. Light from the courthouse attic was shining right through it.

Mr. Perkins said the subcontractor hired to do the roof work, G.A. Frisch Inc., had cut two holes in the courthouse where they planned to place additional drainage lines from the roof. One was patched before workers left for the weekend; the other wasn't.

“They know there was a mistake made and they'll take care of it,” Mr. Perkins said. “That's what they have insurance for.”

The courthouse and the old county jail next door are undergoing a $3.1 million exterior renovation that includes replacement of the Spanish tile roofs and the gutter system. Grunwell-Cashero Co. of Toledo is the general contractor on the project.

Ms. Wilhelm said she met yesterday with Fidell Cashero, construction manager. He apologized and promised to take care of the mess. “They admitted fault and they told us to make all the necessary repairs, replace all the equipment, and send them the bill,” she said.

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