Fire puts Bradley County Courthouse out of action until early 2018

Fire puts Bradley County Courthouse out of action until early 2018

October 2nd, 2017 by Paul Leach in Breaking News

Yellow caution tape marks off the closed Bradley County Courthouse, which be closed until early 2018 due to fire and smoke damage.

Photo by Paul Leach /Times Free Press.

Bradley County court locations

Criminal courts, which include Bradley County General Sessions Criminal Court and Bradley County Criminal Court, will continue to convene at the Bradley County Judicial Complex. Courts displaced by the courthouse fire will convene as noted below.

Bradley County Sheriff’s Office
2290 Blythe Avenue, Cleveland, TN, 37311

Chancery Court - Community Room

Circuit Court (Judge Lawrence Puckett) - North Training Room

Bradley County Misdemeanor Probation Office
2252 Blythe Ave., S.E., Cleveland, TN, 37311

Circuit Court (Judge Mike Sharp) - Conference Room

Bradley County Juvenile Center
1620 Johnson Blvd., S.E., Cleveland, TN 37311

Bradley County Juvenile Court

Bradley County General Sessions Civil Court

Bradley County Order of Protection Court

Cleveland Municipal Building
190 Church St., N.E., Cleveland, TN 37311

Child Support Court - City Council Room

For more information on Bradley County courtroom locations and times of operation, the Bradley County Circuit Clerk’s Office has set up three phone lines: 423-728-7056, 423-728-7050 and 423-728-7049.

Sources: Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Bradley County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office

Several Bradley County, Tenn., offices displaced by Saturday's courthouse fire are looking for temporary homes.

The electrical fire, which started in the building's mechanical room, damaged the facility's power grid, air conditioning and ceiling tiles, according to a report by Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis to county officials Monday.

Davis said the courthouse will be out of action for probably four months because it will take six to eight weeks to build and deliver its new air conditioning system, plus another six to eight weeks to install it. Damage estimates are not available now, he said.

Davis said the county has received 15 offers to provide space for the disrupted offices, but said the ideal solution would be to put their 43 employees in one or two locations to maximize insurance allowances for leasing space.

Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis, center, discusses plans for relocating offices displaced by Saturday's courthouse fire.

Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis, center, discusses...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

"There's not many [spaces] that will hold everybody, but we still have those options," Davis said. "I want to know from elected officials is do you want to go ahead and do your own thing, or do you want to hold out and get one or two locations for everybody?"

Davis said he hoped to work out a leasing agreement today for space at an undisclosed location. If that works out, he plans to announce a schedule for relocating offices such as the county clerk, trustee and assessor. While he could offer no guarantees, he mentioned the possibility of having displaced offices back on line by the end of the week.

After the meeting, Davis refused to disclose the amount of insurance money the county would have available to lease space, nor would he reveal the sites under consideration.

"On behalf of the taxpayers, I'm not going to talk dollars and I really don't want to talk locations because the politics will start," Davis said, citing his desire not to tip the county's hand in the coming lease negotiations.

Bradley County Circuit Court Clerk Gayla Miller announced several courts have been successfully shuffled to temporary sites. In addition to the criminal courtrooms already housed at the Bradley County Judicial Complex, courts now occupy spaces at the sheriff's office, city hall and the juvenile justice center.

"We're moved," Miller said. "We're ready to move as soon as the computers come up."

The Bradley County Commission, which meets the first four Mondays of each month, scheduled its first post-fire meeting at the Bradley Central High School library Monday night.

Hamilton County Clerk Bill Knowles has offered the services of his office to assist Bradley County residents with state vehicle registrations while the Bradley County Clerk's Office is offline.

Contact staff writer Paul Leach at 423-757-6481 or pleach@times Follow him on Twitter @pleach_tfp.

This story was updated Oct. 2 at 11:59 p.m. with more information.