by Anayeli Ruiz
MITCHELL COUNTY - While the rest of the Permian Basin is in the midst of a drought, folks in Mitchell County are dealing with a watery mess but it's not because of rain. The historic courthouse was flooded a few weeks back and workers are still dealing with the problem.
On the outside, it looks like a pristine courthouse but if you look inside, it's a different story.
"This happened on a Friday afternoon after we closed or sometime during the night or early Saturday morning. We had water spewing out of a heater for about 36 hours," Mitchell County Judge, Ray Mayo, said.
They had about two to three inches of water on the first two floors since the heater was on the second floor and small-town hospitality kicked in right away.
"We called in a company that brought in some fans and some dehumidifiers. Prior to that our volunteer fire department came in and they were squelching out water for hours," Mayo said.
It took about 12 days to actually get the courthouse dried out, unfortunately the flood did not carry their problems away with it.
"Right now, we are dealing with our flooring situation we have some old flooring that contains asbestos. So we are going to have to have that abated," Mayo said.
Many of the county offices furniture is damaged due to the ceiling caving in. Despite all the mess around the courthouse, no important documents were damaged.
"Our basement, even though it was flooded, it contained a lot of old documents and old records. None of them were damaged or lost. We are very fortunate in that situation," Mayo said.
It's not all bad, the flood paved the way for some much-needed spring cleaning.
"One good thing about it since we have all moved out of the courthouse we've been able to go through our files and our storage bins and throw away a lot of things that need to be thrown away. We're cleaning house as we go," Mayo said.
The courthouse did have insurance and they hope that will help cover the damages. They expect to move back in sometime in December after everything is redone.