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Lightning strike blamed for destroying courthouse alarm system

June 25, 2014 News Extra

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Butler County is walking a few extra miles to guarantee fire safety after a lightning strike destroyed a fire alarm system in the county courthouse.

Workers today conducted inspections of the system that was knocked out Tuesday night.

John Campbell, director of county facilities and operations, said today people would maintain surveillance of the building interior while the fire alarm system is repaired.

“We’re continuing the fire watch,” he said.

Sometime before 8 p.m. Tuesday, a panel in the courthouse basement was overloaded, shutting down the fire alarm system.

“It cooked the power supply,” Campbell said.

When that system short circuits, an electronic notification system kicks in.

Campbell said a lightning strike could have hit the metal in the courthouse’s bell tower and traveled to the basement through wiring.

No other system in the courthouse was damaged. The adjacent county office building was not affected.

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