February report showed courthouse flaws

CREATED Jul 8, 2013 - UPDATED: Jul 8, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - A report released in February is raising eyebrows about the condition of the Milwaukee County Courthouse before a fire Saturday.

It was anything but business as usual at the Milwaukee County Courthouse Monday. A fire over the weekend rerouted services and caused delays for others that still haven't caught up and it could be a while before they do.

"It will be several weeks, I would say, before we work through the backlog that's been added on to our system by this disaster," says Chief Judge Jeffrey Kremers.

It’s something some say could have been prevented. An outside consultant, CBRE, released a report in February that described  the building's electrical system as "…approaching or beyond its life expectancy…"

But perhaps the most eye-popping note, buried at the bottom of Appendix E, "There is no sprinkler system for this building". It goes on to say the "building does not meet current codes and standards." 

Supervisors say if they'd gotten what they wanted when they wanted it, we might not be here.

"The board requested a facilities report to be done in 2012, and that report was delayed," says Supervisor David Bowen. "We weren't able to use that information to handle different things."

But County Executive Chris Abele wouldn't comment on who's responsible, saying they need business back to normal before anyone points fingers.

"When we're back up and running normally and operations are running smoothly, we can figure out what went wrong and where we could have done better," said Abele.

The report shows the building does have handheld fire extinguishers, which are inspected on a regular schedule. Right now, the cause of the fire hasn't been determined.