Our County

Courthouse fire gave us a reason to believe

D. Gary Davis Bradley County Mayor
Posted 10/10/17

It has often been said that “behind every cloud lies a silver lining,” and last week we in Bradley County government found this often-quoted …

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Our County

Courthouse fire gave us a reason to believe


It has often been said that “behind every cloud lies a silver lining,” and last week we in Bradley County government found this often-quoted saying to be true.

A fire started in a portion of the Bradley County Courthouse and before firefighters could extinguish the flames, portions of the building were severely damaged.

The first thing to be thankful for was that no one was present during the fire, and therefore no employees or private citizens were injured. Buildings are replaceable. People are not.

Secondly, with the Courthouse being the center of the city of Cleveland and the Courthouse block anchoring its historic downtown area, the Cleveland Fire Department was dispatched to intervene. With decisive, brave and a coordinated effort by local firefighters, the flames were eventually suppressed. While the damage was extensive, it could have been much worse without their help and professional skills being utilized.

Third, the HVAC systems were operational and therefore instrumental in taking the smoke, soot and damaging residue from burning materials across every floor, each office, each room and all contents contained throughout the Courthouse.

This has necessitated the required use of multiple professional agencies to help in the process of removing burned items that have been damaged and are now involved in the tedious process of trying to sanitize and salvage items that are not only needed for governmental offices to be able to perform their jobs, but are in some cases, indeed priceless.

Fourth, the elected officials, employees, administrators and literally everybody who is involved in ensuring the success of the Bradley County Courthouse work flow, have not only seen the damage but have also been instrumental in the cooperation displayed in working to find ways of reopening each office during the lengthy process of repairing and rebuilding this "people's house." 

Fifth, our wonderful and amazing community has shown that we are indeed a city with spirit and a county with hope. I have been the recipient of numerous offers to help by providing temporary office locations, food and supplies for the workers and the family members of our employees that have been instrumental in the success of the operation to reopen for business as soon as humanly possible.

The Bradley County Courthouse is home to approximately 75 workers and each day approximately 1,500 people walk through the doors. At certain times of the month, and year, this number may even triple, to 4,500 each day.

I appreciate each person’s consideration and understanding during the process needed to reopen our Courthouse. It is impossible for me to name every person, department, agency, office, citizen, first responder, law enforcement professional, official and employee who has been a part of this team effort.

But, please know this process has indeed strengthened my spirit, my hope and our commitment to seek ways in which we can continue to serve the public during this rebuilding process.

All that have been involved in this process have chosen to have a “can-do” attitude, and for that I think they are better than silver; in fact, they are as good as gold!

Being able to serve alongside them is an honor, and each and every one of them is another example of how Bradley County truly is Tennessee at its best! 


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