Morgan County Courthouse fire

August 09, 2006|by Kevin G. Gilbert / Staff Photographer

The remains of the Morgan County Courthouse are seen Tuesday after the main building at the corner of Fairfax and Washington streets in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., was destroyed by fire. The cause of the blaze was undetermined.

The badly damaged clock tower bell and cupola were removed by crane for safety reasons Tuesday afternoon. The clock tower will be reinforced to keep it from falling and will be taken down, according to Morgan County Commission President Glen Stotler.

Other buildings in the courthouse complex had smoke and water damage. All of the offices in the complex were affected and cannot be used, Stotler said.

He said three portable offices will be set up in a parking area behind the courthouse complex.

Court records kept in the vault were salvaged, but had some smoke damage.

Workers use a crane Tuesday afternoon to remove the bell from the fire-damaged cupola on the Morgan County Courthouse clock tower in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.


Firefighters remove records from the heavily damaged courthouse.

Laura Smith, of Travel Berkeley Springs, said residents and shopkeepers helped pull records out of the building, and area restaurants took food and water to the firefighters.

Smith said many Berkeley Springs businesses, organizations and the school system offered space to the county commissioners for county office use.

The destroyed building was the third courthouse built since the county was established in 1820, according to the Walking Tour of Berkeley Springs brochure.

It opened with its clock tower in September 1908, and an addition was constructed in 1923.

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