Written by Kathy Olivarez Friday, 06 December 2013 10:40
In light of recent evacuations at the Hidalgo County Courthouse, emergency procedures were critiqued at the Tuesday meeting of Commissioners Court.
On Friday, Nov. 22, the courthouse was closed for almost two hours when there was a major power outage in the area leaving the courthouse and surrounding area in darkness. Employees who work in locations without light and air conditioning were told to leave and come back later when it was determined the problem would not be fixed quickly.
The following Monday the heat at the courthouse was turned on after a long period of time. Dust on coils caused a burning smell and smoke was reported coming from vents on the second floor. Again employees were told to vacate the building by the sheriff’s department, which is in charge of evacuations. They returned two and a half hours later after the fire department determined there was no fire. The smoke and burning smell was coming from the dust burning off the dirty coils.
In both cases employees waited outside until they were told the problem could not be fixed until a certain time and they should leave or leave and come back later.