Courthouse to partially reopen Monday following electrical fire

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Milwaukee County Courthouse will partially reopen on Monday, July 15th. It was closed all of last week while the building was cleaned from smoke damage from an electrical fire last weekend.

Crews worked through the weekend to get the building ready to open Monday.

"I'm not gonna open the door and let the public in until we're 100% sure it's safe," Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said.

Last week, County officials said barring unforeseen circumstances, the fifth, sixth and seventh floors of the Courthouse will be open to the public on Monday.

Opening those floors will allow all Criminal, Family, Small Claims Cases and Jury Trials to resume on Monday.

"We want operations on five through seven to be as normal as possible, but you know that's a big step," Abele said.

The smoke damage is more extensive on the other levels of the Courthouse and will require a longer cleanup, but crews are working hard to get that done as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, large generators continue to run to power the building.

"We're on our third set of generators, so we've got full power and full backup for the whole building," Abele said.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele released the following statement Sunday:

The entrances to the Courthouse on 10th and 9th Streets are closed, however people, including employees, can use the Courthouse entrance on Wells Street. People can also use the entrances to the Safety Building or Criminal Justice Facility and take the skywalk to get to the Courthouse.

Security has doubled up scanning machines and staff on the Wells Street entrance to help handle any extra traffic. Anyone requiring handicap accessibility should enter through the Criminal Justice Facility and will be directed from there.

Part of the fourth floor as well as the fifth, sixth and seventh floors of the Courthouse are cleaned and will be open. Opening these floors allow all Criminal, Family, Small Claims Cases and Jury Trials to resume. Most other services including, Marriage Licenses, are available for the time being off-site.

Some areas of the Courthouse, including the north end of the basement, the offices on the north end of the first floor and the entire second and third floors, remain closed for cleaning and restoration. We request that only people who need be in the building show up.

“This has been an unprecedented time for Milwaukee County and I want to thank all of the employees who have taken this in stride and helped us maintain the many important services we provide,” said County Executive Chris Abele. “I want to especially thank Chief Judge Jeff Kremers and the Court System for their flexibility and an extra special thanks to the County Facilities, Risk Management, IT employees, Security Officers and Sheriff’s Department staff who are working 24 hours a day to make sure this cleanup is done safely and is getting done as quickly as possible.”

Courts

  • All Criminal, Family, Small Claims Cases and Jury Trials will resume on Monday.
  • Jurors can get updated information about where to report on Monday on the Reserve Juror web page, reservemessage.com or by calling the Reserve Juror phone lines at 414-985-6000 or 414-985-6200.  Jurors should check the hotlines on Sunday evening after 5:00 p.m. for the latest information.
  • Limited Probate services will be available, people should report to room 117 of the Safety Building for Courtroom information.
  • The Courthouse Cafeteria will be closed but there are food options at the nearby Public Museum and we have invited Food Trucks to park close by.

The following services remain available off-site:

County Clerk

  • Wedding licenses are available in room 105 at the City Campus building (2711 W. Wells St.)

Register of Deeds

  • The Register of Deeds department is recording the majority of real estate documents that are submitted. These electronically submitted documents (eDocs) are being processed remotely.
  • Register of Deeds is unable to sell vital records copies but records of birth and death events that occurred within the Cities of Milwaukee and West Allis can be obtained from the health departments of those cities. All other county birth, death and marriage records can be obtained from the state vital records office in Madison.

Child Support Services

  • Milwaukee County Child Support Services will run a satellite office from 9am – 3:30 p.m. at the Marcia P. Coggs Building (1220 W. Vliet Street).
  • Limited services will be available, but Child Support staff will be on site to meet with participants with child support concerns, and accept payments.
  • Income withholding notices will still be processed by Milwaukee County staff temporarily working from the Waukesha County Courthouse.
  • The Wisconsin State Child Support trust fund remains operational, and is processing and crediting payments at this time.

Other Functions

  • Most other staff and functions including, The Comptroller, Treasurer, Human Resources, Fiscal and Budgeting, Department of Family Care, Disability Services and Corporation Counsel are working from other locations across the County.