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Contractor checks out roof of burned courthouse

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By Jenny Hartley

Officials from a Sumter contractor got a look from the air at the fire damage to the Lancaster County Courthouse on Thursday.

A boom lifted Hunter Builders officials above the burned roof of the courthouse, which was badly damaged on its second floor by arson early Monday. Hunter Builders specializes in restoring historic buildings.

The company was contacted by Jody Munnerlyn of Boykin-Munnerlyn architectural firm, which was overseeing a renovation project at the historic courthouse, before the fire.

"Hunter Builders was willing to drop everything and come up here to work on our building," County Administrator Steve Willis said.

County officials hope to restore the 180-year-old building, which appears to be structurally sound.

Hunter Builders added emergency bracing to the second floor of the courthouse Thursday.

The company wants to get a roof cover up as soon as possible, Willis said.

That will require replacing the charred trusses to support a canvas cover until the county is prepared to make permanent repairs, Willis said.

Estimates on how much the restoration will cost should be available in a couple weeks.

The building is insured at $1.8 million.

Servpro, a fire cleanup and restoration company, finished its work at the building Wednesday, Willis said.

Windows broken by the heat of the fire, and the doors of the building were boarded up about 8 p.m. that night.

Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at jhartley@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1151