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St. Louis County government deals with power surge, major outage at headquarters

(KWMU photo/Rachel Lippmann)

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Storms that pummeled the St. Louis area Monday morning have closed parts of St. Louis County government until Thursday.

A fire in the boiler room of the County Government Center, 41 S. Central Ave. knocked out the primary and back-up electrical systems for the government center, courthouse, jail, and St. Louis County Police annex. The fire was storm-related, but investigators have not determined the exact cause. A replacement part must be trucked in from Houston.

The electrical system was on a list of public works projects that would have been funded by a bond issue rejected by voters; some projects are now on the county's "wish list" for stimulus dollars.

The system's age had nothing to do with the fire, county executive Charlie Dooley said.

"This is a situation we couldn't have planned," Dooley said. "It just happens. Mother Nature, it is what it is, and we're going to fix it." County officials had not determined whether to upgrade the system or make repairs.

What's Open

All jury trials have been canceled until Monday, June 15. Judges will hear emergency cases, such as restraining orders and orders of protection, in the lobby of the jail. Marriage licenses will also be issued

County departments will be open and handling county business, but not at the Clayton location. Residents who have business with county departments should call that department to find out the temporary location. The main switchboard number, 615-5000, will be operational by 7:30am Tuesday, June 9.

County employees should call their supervisor. It will be counted as a "snow day" for employees who do not have to go into work.

Residents who faced a June 8 deadline for county business, such as paying taxes or parking tickets, will not face late fees.

The County Council meeting scheduled for June 9, 2009 at 6pm has been canceled.