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Leaks worsen at Fayette buildings

| Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, 12:02 a.m.
Buckets catch leaking water near a window in a third-floor hallway at the Fayette County Courthouse in Uniontown. Heavy rains on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, breached areas that had leaked in the past and had been repaired. Liz Zemba I Tribune-Review

The combination of rain and snow from the remnants of superstorm Sandy exacerbated existing problems with leaky roofs at four county-owned buildings in Fayette.

A number of leaks greeted courthouse employees Tuesday morning, including one that left several puddles of water in the basement of the prothonotary's office.

Ceiling tiles in the fourth-floor tax assessor's office were damp, and at least one had been removed. In another fourth-floor office, water dripped down a blind and droplets appeared to be seeping through a wall.

Bob Carson, building and grounds supervisor, said some of the leaks on the courthouse's steep, slate roof were caused when snow accumulated in gutters and forced water over the side, penetrating the building.

It was too dangerous to have employees attempt to remove the snow, he said.

“I'm not sending someone on a slate roof to clear snow,” Carson said. “It's not safe.”

In some instances, including near a window in a third-floor hallway, the heavy rains breached areas that had leaked in the past, but had been repaired. Plaster near the window is noticeably bubbled from the previous leaks and, in one spot, is almost completely gone.

In addition, the county prison — the building that houses the coroner's office and Public Safety Building and its 911 call center and probation offices — reported leaky roofs, Carson said.

On buildings with flat roofs, pools of water were as deep as 3 inches, Carson said, causing water to seep into the buildings. The county was aware the roofs leaked prior to the storm and has had several contractors look at them to determine the source and recommend fixes, he said.

Al Ambrosini, commission chairman, said assessments are under way to determine the age of the roofs and whether they should be repaired or replaced.

The leaks did not disrupt county services, but Carson said some desks and computers had to be moved in some offices.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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