Milwaukee Co. Courthouse to remain closed until Monday

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Milwaukee County Courthouse will remain closed the rest of the week as crews work to clean nearly every inch of the building after an electrical fire over the weekend. The courthouse is on track to reopen on Monday.

County officials say the Safety Building will reopen on Wednesday, July 10th, as it has passed an air quality test.

Criminal cases scheduled for Wednesday will be heard at the Safety Building. All jury trials this week have been cancelled.

"We have a number of defendants in custody in the jail. We have constitutional rights and speedy trial rights," Milwaukee County Chief Judge Jeffrey Kremers said.

Meanwhile, we're getting our first look inside the Milwaukee County Courthouse and Public Safety Building since a weekend electrical fire shut down the two buildings.

Media was allowed to view the parts of the two buildings where damage was done on Tuesday morning, July 9th. You can view more pictures just below.

Construction crews are now assessing the damage, making repairs and cleaning up. But there is a lot of work ahead in the next few days.

"The courthouse is a million square foot building.  That's a lot of space to cover, a lot of desks, a lot of offices," said Milwaukee County Supervisor David Bowen.

"We have have on backup full power restored to both, which is great because cleaning can go faster," Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said.

Inside the building, walls are covered with smoke damage; charred and blackened. There is a focus on every room, picking up debris, venting out smoke, and changing out damaged ceiling tiles.

"Obviously scrubbing down the floors, the walls, all of the surfaces, and we`re also replacing all of the tiles in the ceiling and replacing much of the carpet in the first several floors," Milwaukee County Facilities Maintenance Manager Gary Waszak said.

It is unclear exactly what caused the fire, but the electrical infrastructure for the Courthouse and Safety Building were impacted.

County leaders also got their first inside look at the damage on Tuesday. They say they know they're going to have to address issues of old infrastructure that have been put off for years.

"If we could’ve gotten to this earlier, you have to believe that this wouldn't have happened. of offices," said Supervisor Steve Taylor.

An independent report give to the county points out, "The building does not meet current codes or standards." Leaders say this is a wake-up call. Now, there is a call to stop the finger-pointing and work toward solutions.

"We just need to get together as a team and figure out what repairs need to be done, so that this doesn't happen in the future," said Supervisor Taylor.