Broward officials continue work to get to bottom of courthouse issues after partial closure

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County officials continued efforts Monday to identify the source of the possible structural problem that led officials to close the top floors of the county’s courthouse Friday.

The building is a little more than five years old.

Broward County Public Works Director Trevor Fisher said a photograph taken by staff Thursday prompted the shutdown.

“It showed some cracks on some of the beams,” he said.

He said consultants told the county they wanted to take a closer look and recommended floors 18 through 21 be vacated. Only floors 18 and 19 had people working.

“Concrete shrinks, but when the cracks get too large, it’s an indication of failure,” Fisher said.

Officials say it’s still too early to tell what exactly is happening, but wanted to make sure they were taking no life or safety risks.

“The prudent thing was to make sure we get out here…take all the necessary precautionary measures and get going with the evaluation,” Fisher said.

Fisher said part of the work involves looking at cantilever beams 30 feet above the roof deck.

“They came out and they looked at cracks that (were) easily accessible,” he said.

Fisher said the county plans to perform additional testing and said workers in the lower floors of the courthouse should have “no concern whatsoever” about their safety.

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.