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Courthouse, Council Chambers Damaged by Quake

web posted February 20, 2014

EDGEFIELD The historic Edgefield County Courthouse has been found to have damage caused by the recent earthquake and aftershock that took place over the weekend. EMA Director Mike Casey said Wednesday that an initial inspection of some of the county buildings discovered obvious damage to the courthouse and the County Council Chambers on Jeter Street.

Casey said that cracks were found around many windows, mainly on the courtroom level (third floor), and in the plaster walls, including a stairwell. Additional inspections are going to be made to access the damage and a structural engineer will also make inspections with the Building and Planning Office.

The Edgefield County Council Chambers was also found to have suffered damage during the quake, though the specifics of that damage was not available.

Casey said building officials and his office will be inspecting county buildings this week, both inside and outside.

The county does have earthquake insurance and the insurance company will be sending in the engineer to deem how serious the damage is and confirm the stability of the structures.

Casey said he was concerned about other old buildings on the Edgefield Town Square, two of which already have serious structural deficiencies. They included the old hotel and two other structures on the south side of the square, one of which already has the entire back wall that fell on its own several years ago. "That tells you they are not structurally sound," Casey said.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also reported some of the churches in the area of the epicenter have been damaged due to the quake and will be reporting further information to the County EMA Office.

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