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Milwaukee County Courthouse now fully reopened

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) --  Two-and-a-half weeks after a fire destroyed the main electrical infrastructure of the Milwaukee County Courthouse, the building fully reopened on Wednesday, July 24th.

"I'm here because I've got something to celebrate," said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. "The courthouse is open and we've got an extraordinary group of people behind me who helped make that happen."

Abele was joined by several others on Wednesday afternoon, July 24th, to express gratitude for the cooperation that enabled the quick turnaround of the courthouse.

It's been two-and-a-half weeks to get to this point -- a fully reopened Milwaukee County Courthouse -- after a fire destroyed the main electrical infrastructure.

"Our commitment has always been on public safety. We've been able to relatively, seamlessly continue that mission and for that I'm grateful," said Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.

Don Tyler, Director of Administration Services described what he called a magical moment -- getting power from generators to the Safety Building and Courthouse.

"Largest generators from my understanding in the country, eight-and-a-half miles of cable and a portable transformer. And within days, we had the Safety Building up and the Courthouse up and running on a partial bases," said Tyler.

The big generators will be loaded up and taken away. But one will remain in place, just in case.

There is still plenty to be done in the coming weeks. The main electrical system has to be replaced. Carpeting and ceiling tiles also have to be put in on the bottom three floors.

Timeline of Events

  • July 6th - Electrical fire breaks out.
  • July 6th - Massive effort to clean up and reopen the one million square foot Courthouse begins.
  • July 10th - Safety Building reopens for Criminal Court hearings two business days after the fire.
  • July 15th - Courthouse opens for most Court activity five business days after the fire.
  • July 17th - Public services, including Marriage Licenses and Child Support Services reopen in the Courthouse open. Most services were being provided off-site during the closure.
  • July 18th – Employees in many departments including Corporation Counsel, County Board and Risk Management move back into their offices.
  • July 19 – 23rd – Courthouse and Safety Building removed from generator power and hooked into WE Energies utility grid. New power source is tested and tweaked.
  • July 24th -- Today Courthouse fully reopens.

Coming weeks:

  • Restoration work continues, mostly after business hours.
  • Carpet and ceiling tiles in many offices will be replaced.
  • Main electrical system will be rebuilt and replaced.

Monitor FOX6 News and for updates on this developing story.