Two antiquated heating registers in the Glacier County Courthouse ruptured within five days of each other, causing damage to offices on three levels in the courthouse. According to County Maintenance Supervisor Shannon Pep-ion, the two incidents will be separate claims to the County’s insurance provider. The deductible for each claim will be $2,000.
Pepion and Human Resources Director Mike Kittson updated Commission Chairman Michael DesRosier, fellow Commissioner John Overcast and members of the public on the status of the damages and repairs during the Commissioners’ regular meeting on Thursday, Jan. 23.
The first register ruptured on or about Jan. 15 in one of the offices of the Clerk of District Court. On Sunday, Jan. 20, one of the registers in the vault area of Chief Financial Officer Chancy Kittson’s office ruptured. (Kittson’s office is the old Department of Revenue Assessor’s Office on the second floor.)
Pepion was called by the Glacier County dispatcher on duty who reported a potential leak in their downstair’s office and that’s when the leak in Kittson’s office was discovered.
Water had already spread from the CFO’s office, to the County Treasurer’s Office, and downstairs to the Elections Office and men’s restroom. Treasurer Don Wilson and Mike Kittson both responded to assist Pepion with the clean up and assessment of damages. Clerk and Recorder Mandi Kennerly contacted Leavitt Insurance and Kittson said he informed the Commissioners of the incident.
Overcast Contracting out of Havre was contacted and brought dehumidifying equipment and drying fans. “They will be recommending to the County what needs to be replaced, i.e., walls, carpet, etc.,” said Pepion, adding, “the contractors that are hired will work nights and weekends” so the day-to-day operations of the County won’t be impacted to a great degree.
County officials had a note on the outside doors informing the public about the situation.
“Due to a water break, the Treasurer’s Office is down to ONE computer. You are encouraged and welcome to use the Browning Satellite Office, or please be patient. Processes WILL be SLOW for the next few days as we assess damage and attempt to restore computers. Thank you for your patience.”
The County’s insurance will cover the repairs and purchase of electronic equipment that was damaged. DesRosier said some computers in the Treasurer’s Office were under three inches of water. Jason Canney, of Preferred IT Systems, was onsite to inspect the equipment.
“We are still assessing the items, but so far we have approximately eight computers, five printers, eight UPS battery back up systems, six desks and chairs that will need to be replaced,” said Mike Kittson. “The cost of the damages to the walls, floors and ceilings has not been calculated.”
Kittson assured, “No information was lost as our computer system is all configured to back up to multiple places including an online server. The documents that were damaged were papers being stored for destruction or had been electronically scanned.”
Leavitt Insurance representatives Travis Clark, Jake Gustafson, Jay LeProwse and Lyndie Kraft met with the Commissioners for the mid-year insurance review and discussed the incident briefly with the Commissioners. LeProwse is Leavitt’s Safety Compliance Resource Coordinator/-Claims Advocate. Clark told the Commissioners Leavitt would be happy to provide on-site inspections of county facilities and to assist in determining what caused the registers to rupture in order to prevent it from happening again in other offices in the courthouse.