The Moss Justice Center courthouse in York that houses hundreds of employees opened for business as usual Friday morning at 8 a.m. after a late afternoon gas leak Thursday caused by nearby construction of a parking deck prompted evacuation of most of the courthouse employees.
York Fire Chief Domenic Manera said all gas readings late Thursday showed no gas in the buildings and cleared the building late Thursday for normal use.
York County Clerk of Court David Hamilton, who administrates the courthouses in York County, said normal functions resumed Friday.
Around 4 p.m., employees were told to evacuate the offices and courtrooms, according to court officials and emergency scanner traffic from the York County Sheriff’s Office. The Moss Justice Center houses the 16th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, York County Sheriff’s Office, and offices for the public defender, clerk of court and other departments.
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A construction crew working on the new parking deck being built next to the courthouse hit a gas line, said Trent Faris, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
Faris said the evacuation was not mandatory. The jail on the bottom floor of the Moss Justice Center, which houses hundreds of inmates, was not evacuated, Faris said.
Clerical staff members at all offices were sent home about 4 p.m. near the close of business.
Building maintenance and York Fire Department officials tested the air in the building just before 5 p.m. and found no gas in the air, Faris said on social media.
David Hamilton, York County Clerk of Court, said he instructed employees to leave the building for safety reasons. Courtrooms were closed for the remainder of the day, Hamilton said.
“We determined it was best to get all people out safely,” Hamilton said.
Willy Thompson, 16th Circuit deputy solicitor, said employees were urged to go outside. People working in the building could smell gas, and at the same time they were asking for answers, employees were told to leave the building, Thompson said.
Harry Dest, 16th Circuit public defender, said the smell of gas was “overpowering” in the building and he also told employees to first go outside then leave the courthouse for the day.