SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – 22News continues coverage of the mold issues at the Hampden County Courthouse.
Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey and Court Administrator John Bello are expected to tour the courthouse Wednesday, according to a spokesperson from the Trial Court. They will all then meet with court department leaders, District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, Sheriff Nick Cocchi and members of the legislative delegation.
State Representative Bud Williams said, “This is the hall of justice, it shouldn’t be the hall of injustice, and this is environmental injustice.”
State Representative Angelo Puppolo said, “This building is sick. Even if the studies come back and say the air quality is good, the ducts are good, the electrical is good, there is still an underlying issue here. People have gotten sick, people have died of cancer, they’ve died of ALS.”
People who work or do business inside the Courthouse gathered for a rally Wednesday afternoon to demand safer working conditions.
“It’s a public issue,” said Joseph Pacella, president of the Hampden County Bar Association. “Everyone is going to get a notice to come in for jury duty. Everyone here is probably at some point going to end up in this Courthouse.”
The Hampden County Bar Association took pictures inside the courthouse on Tuesday showing mold in different areas of the building from hallways to courtrooms to lockup cells. The courthouse reopened last Thursday after being closed for two weeks because of mold.
“The solution that I would like to see is that it be shut down until we can have appropriate testing, including thermal imaging,” Pacella said.
D.A. Gulluni told 22News there needs to be both a short and a long-term solution to the mold.
“The short-term solution is a clean space here or somewhere else where we can do the business of the court, which is important to everyone,” Gulluni said. “It’s important to the folks who are here, who have dedicated their lives to public service. The long-term solution is in my opinion exclusively, a new Courthouse.”
Bud Williams said, “If this was a courthouse in Boston or Roxbury they would have figured a way out of this and resolved the situation and make their people feel comfortable.”
The trial court is exploring other sites that will allow court operations to continue, but it’s unknown where exactly that will be and when that will happen. So again, the courthouse will remain open. But all lawmakers 22News spoke with said one thing is for sure, the courthouse needs to be replaced completely.