FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The Broward County courthouse reopened after it was evacuated because of a gas leak Wednesday morning.
A backhoe cut a 4-inch gas line outside the new courthouse, which is under construction, about 7:30 a.m. The courthouse reopened about 10:30 a.m.
"We got all through the clerk's office, got all the papers done, go up to file the motion and they threw us out (of) the courthouse," said Norma Finefeuiaki. "Figures. It's 12-12-12. I'm going to blame it on the date. Everything is supposed to be lucky today, but it doesn't appear to be."
"I think everyone is waiting, but I don't know if they are going to let them back in or not," said attorney Kristy Phillips.
Three people who complained of nausea were transported to Broward Health.
"I walked into work at eight and there was a bad smell. They didn't tell us to leave until half an hour later," said a courthouse employee.
Fire department officials say the leak is under control, and the gas supply to the courthouse has been turned off.
The line, which is located 6-8 feet below the surface, is expected to undergo day long repairs.
Construction workers have returned to the site.
According to the county, all courthouse and jail operations would operate normally, except:
- Courtrooms 120 and 130 (County Civil Court and Traffic Misdemeanor Court) will be closed all day Wednesday.
- Gas service will be discontinued while permanent repairs are made. Gas is used to supply hot water to the courthouse and jail; the service interruption may impact laundry and cafeteria operations at both facilities today.
- Broward Sheriff's Office has temporarily suspended civilian visitation at the downtown jail. Booking operations have been relocated to satellite facilities in Davie and Pompano Beach.
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