Clogged downspout floods court offices

Wayne Allen

March 26, 2013

Wayne Allen

Common Staff Writer

The snow and heavy rains on Monday and a clogged downspout on the roof of the Scioto County Courthouse, contributed to the flooding of 4th District Court of Appeals Administrative Judge Matt McFarland’s third floor office.

As a result of the flood and damage McFarland sent his staff to work from home while he and others sop through the office trying to preserve what they can and while crews work to repair the damage. At points on Monday morning it was was rain inside McFarland’s office.

“We were alerted this morning there were issues, so we came into this and obviously it’s uninhabitable at this point. It’s not safe for my staff so, we will have to obviously shutdown temporarily until it’s safe to work in again.”

The damage to the third floor office includes, “the carpet is soaking wet and puddled in places. You’ve celling tile that are ready to fall (along with some that had) and some of our computer equipment has been very wet,” McFarland said.

He said it was to early mid-Monday morning to know the full extent of the damage.

As far as solutions to the damage, McFarland said,”we’ll have to see what the commissioners are going to do as it relates to the problem. We’ll have to save as much as we can and protect the files as best as we can.”

As far as records stored within the office getting damaged, he said some of the court transcripts received some water damage.

“Obviously this is disappointing from the operation of our court,” McFarland said.

McFarland said a similar situation occurred in his office in 2010 and it took a week and a half before his office was operational.

As far as when his office will open again Mcfarland was uncertain.

Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners Mike Crabtree denied the fact that is was raining in McFarlands office.

“We have a backed up downspout from a disposable pop bottles that someone dropped down in the drain. As a result, the water became backed up, it ran over so, it’s raining in his office basically,” Crabtree said. “I think the problem has stopped. But, somebody either accidentally or purposefully dropped a disposable plastic pop bottle down in the drain and created a situation.”

Commissioner Doug Coleman said the county maintenance supervisor came in early Monday, and removed the bottles. He said that corrected the situation or it could have been a lot worse.

“If it was not for him, it could have been worse than what it was,” Coleman said.

Crabtree said the situation is going to have to be corrected soon to prevent mildew or mold.

Crabtree said he has been in contact with the counties insurance company to explore the possibility of a claim.

When asked in McFarland is displaced for a while due to the damage in his office Crabtree said, “I know he’s sent his people home today. I know we’re going to try to get everything dried up today. I don’t know that we can have someone put in brand new carpet in today. Obviously we’ll have to do something to fix some of the problems, is that just replacing the carpet I don’t know.”

Crabtree said one of the first things he asked about when here about the situation was if it was caused by the roof.

“The first thing I asked when I got here was if it was a problem with the roof. Was it something they left off the roof that they had not gotten to yet. The answer was no,” Crabtree said. “It’s not a roof problem, it’s a downspout problem. Someone either accidently or purposefully put a pop bottle down there and that created a situation.”

He said crews are about a third of the way finished with the installation of a new roof on the courthouse.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or