WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Hampden County courthouse in downtown Springfield has reopened after a mold issue, but many are still hesitant to return.
The Hampden County Sheriff’s Office is temporarily suspending inmates from going into the courthouse after the building was reopened to the public last week. Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi announced the department will not be sending its inmates to the building for court appearances. Sheriff Cocchi said when inmates are taken to the courthouse, they often sit in holding cells for several hours.
State officials closed the courthouse the last week of August over health concerns due to mold and other hazards. Although the building opened last week, Sheriff Cocchi said he is not sending inmates into the building because he says the building is still not safe enough.
Sheriff Nick Cocchi told 22News, “To the credit of the trial courts, they’re working to get lockup in a condition that is habitable for an expended period of time. My folks go there, they can be in the lockup between one to two hours all the way up to 6 hours, and we want to make sure it’s safe for them to be there and we are moving towards that.”
Testing has been done on the building and it determined mold levels were safe for people after extensive cleaning and sanitization. However, the air ducts in the building were not tested. It’s not yet clear how many people are working in there right now, two weeks after it shut down.