Courthouse open for business following fire

Chris Los of New London, a fulltime employee of Servicemaster of Norwich-New London, vacuums debris along the staircase of the original entrance of the original portion of the 1784 courthouse portion of the New London Superior Court on Huntington Street as crews clean up a day after a fire in the upper level Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012.
Chris Los of New London, a fulltime employee of Servicemaster of Norwich-New London, vacuums debris along the staircase of the original entrance of the original portion of the 1784 courthouse portion of the New London Superior Court on Huntington Street as crews clean up a day after a fire in the upper level Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. Tim Martin/The Day Buy Photo

New London Superior Court on Huntington Street was open for business Wednesday even as a section of the courthouse damaged by a fire a day earlier remained closed.

"We're doing everything we would normally be doing today, just using other parts of the building or other buildings," said the district's administrative judge, Emmet L. Cosgrove.

Crews were assessing the damage to the original portion of the 1784 courthouse and removing water and smoke left behind after a contractor working on the air conditioning system Tuesday afternoon sparked a fire in the rear attic of the courthouse.

The sprinkler system helped contain the fire until the city fire company arrived, according to Cosgrove.

"We are really very lucky the damage was confined to the small portion of the older building," Cosgrove said. "It would have been devastating to lose the courthouse."

Electricity has been restored to most of the building, and the alarm system is fully activated, according to Cosgrove. A judicial marshal stayed in the courthouse overnight to ensure the fire did not reignite, he said.

The murder trial of Kevin S. Bialowas that was under way at the courthouse was postponed Wednesday while the prosecutor's office reviews new materials in the case. The trial is expected to resume today.

An ongoing civil case, Salvi v. Marvel Farm LLC, which involves a woman who fell from a horse, was not in session Wednesday due to the Yom Kippur holiday.

k.florin@theday.com

Crews clean up in the damaged attic of the 1784 courthouse portion of the New London Superior Court on Huntington Street a day after a fire occurred there Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012.
Crews clean up in the damaged attic of the 1784 courthouse portion of the New London Superior Court on Huntington Street a day after a fire occurred there Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. Tim Martin/The Day Buy Photo
Firefighters at the scene of a fire at the Superior Court building, built in 1784, in New London Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.
Firefighters at the scene of a fire at the Superior Court building, built in 1784, in New London Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo
New London firefighters battle a structure fire in the upper level of the original Superior Court building in New London Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012.
New London firefighters battle a structure fire in the upper level of the original Superior Court building in New London Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. Tim Martin/The Day Buy Photo
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