Macomb County's emergency declaration has been lifted following fire

MT. CLEMENS (WXYZ) - An emergency declaration, which helped Macomb County operate in a fire's aftermath, has been lifted.

The phones in the Macomb County courts are back to normal after a fire severely damaged the old county administration building in Mt. Clemens on April 17. 

They were knocked out more than a week ago by the blaze in the building.  A fill-in communications system was recently pieced together.

Flames and smoke broke out in the basement of the building and spread to the ventilation system.

Soot still remains on every floor.

Crews have been boxing up every item inside to be cleaned-- including computers, office furniture, and paperwork.

Macomb County went into crisis mode when its server went down after the electricity had to be shut off during the fire.

The county only had one server, causing severe problems. They could have lost everything.

They were able to retrieve all the documents and are backing them up on a temporary server.

"We started thinking about the reality of this long ago," said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.  "We prepared for getting a site where we're going to have a backup. Unfortunately, our worst thoughts did happen, they occurred. We had a fire in a building where our server was at… which contained all of our records and information."

Officials hope most of the restoration will be paid for by insurance.

The building was not up to fire code.  It was old enough to be grandfathered in under the old code.

Architects will go floor-by-floor to see what can be saved and what needs to be repaired. The building will need a new main-frame system, backup system, and fire suppression system.

The interior walls were severely damaged. It will also need new ceilings, ventilation system, sprinkler system, and heating and cooling.

"It's still worth a tremendous value. Bringing it up to code, yes, there is going to be a cost issue, but to just say we are going to shut it down...well no… there's still use for it.  "It's a long term issue-- meaning it will take a longer time to put this thing up to code than building a couple floors in the county building," said Macomb County Executive Hackel.

"It's necessary because nobody is coming back in, what I call, unsafe environment."

Hackel told 7 Action News it will take a few days to back all the data up onto a temporary server. 

It could take a year and a half to two years to fully restore the building.

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