SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi announced Tuesday his department will temporarily stop sending inmates to the Roderick L. Ireland Courthouse in Springfield, after a recent report released by local lawyers showed cancer-causing molds throughout the building.

“I cannot in good conscience sit and wait to see if the building is shut down by the state when I’m looking at the report that shows the same cancer-causing mold located in the former chambers of the deceased Judges Boyle and Kumor was also found in the basement where the court lock-up is located,” Sheriff Cocchi said. “Enough is enough. The state needs to stop talking about mitigation to the tune of $91 million and the conversation needs to immediately shift to replacement of the building. People are getting sick and they are dying, and it doesn’t need to happen.”

Beginning Wednesday, the sheriff’s department will no longer send inmates to the Springfield courthouse, where they sometimes sit in court lockup for hours. The department has expanded its video appearance capabilities during the pandemic and will hold all proceedings virtually with inmates.

Cocchi told 22News the courthouse could be closed within the next 24 hours and that he is aware of those conversations happening on the state level.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno sent 22News the following statement, “Sheriff Nick Cocchi sounds just like the legendary Sheriff Mike Ashe when dealing with the old and a totally antiquate York Street Jail – ‘he took the bull by the horns’, to force the issue to have a new state-of-the-art facility built. I stand prepared to assist Sheriff Cocchi anyway I can to force this just cause.”

Photos: Mold reported in the courthouse in August 2021

The state trial court said it has no plans to relocate the Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield. A spokesperson for the Trial Court told 22News they are are carefully reviewing the information put out in that report this week.

On Monday, a group of lawyers announced they are suing to have the Springfield courthouse closed and released their own report on the mold inside the building. The report finds that there are “dangerous levels of several species of toxic and carcinogenic mold throughout the building.” The mold was most notably found in the office used by Judges Robert Kumor and William Boyle. Both died from ALS.

“We pulled up the rugs, we went behind the walls, we got the answers,” said lawyer Jeffery Morneau. “And it’s unequivocal: that courthouse is littered with dangerous levels of toxic cancer-causing mold.”

Laura Mangini, a lawyer part of the lawsuit to close the courthouse, is calling on the state trial court to quote “do the right things.”

“To do what we’ve been asking for to keep the people in western Mass safe and don’t force them to have to choose between a paycheck and their health and safety in order to get justice in this community. I don’t think we’re being unreasonable in what we’re asking for,” said Mangini.

The trial court said they will not be building a new courthouse and instead will be moving forward with a comprehensive rehabilitation and renovation plan that includes new windows, a new roof, and a new HVAC system.