Baltimore City Circuit Court’s Clarence M. Mitchell building will be closed Wednesday due a basement fire on Tuesday that forced an evacuation of the courthouse, according to the Maryland Judiciary.
Arrangements have been made to relocate cases and court services to Courthouse East; jurors hearing cases in the Mitchell courthouse should report to room 110 in Courthouse East, according to the Judiciary.
No one was injured in Tuesday’s fire, which caused heavy smoke to billow from the basement late Tuesday afternoon. Fire Department spokesman Capt. Roman Clark says the small fire was quickly extinguished.
Maj. Sabrina Tapp-Harper, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office, says the electrical fire was limited to the basement.
Clark says underground machinery may have overheated, causing a lot of smoke. Firefighters were waiting for utility crews to investigate.
The fire forced Judge Althea M. Handy to hold a hearing outside, where she ordered four Baltimore polling places to each stay open an extra hour because they opened late, after Rep. Donna Edwards sought the order Tuesday in her Democratic U.S. Senate primary race against Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
Polls were supposed to open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 8 p.m. But Handy ordered four polling places that opened late by more than 45 minutes to remain open an extra hour. Handy said she was going to “err on the side of the voters” as she made her ruling in a courthouse garage.