HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. — The Hancock County Prosecutor’s office staff will be scattered as the discovery of mold forced them out of their normal workspace.
Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said Wednesday that the displacement comes after ongoing concerns over the years. The original portion of the building is almost 130 years old.
Those concerns culminated at the end of October when attempted repairs revealed rotting wood and foul odors that made some employees nauseous. Eaton said air quality testing confirmed the presence of mold in the structure.
Employees were told to grab everything they needed to work from home and leave the building. Eaton said county commissioners voted unanimously to declare a state of emergency due to the air quality issues.
The Hancock County Council met Wednesday to approve funding to make the needed repairs and upgrades to the Community Corrections building so it will be suitable to house the Prosecutor’s Office. On Thursday, Eaton said county officials walked through the space to identify immediate needs.
“I am glad our county leaders are addressing this issue, which should have been dealt with years ago,” said Prosecutor Eaton. “Our office is committed to carrying on the county’s business and will continue to do so, even in these challenging circumstances.”
Until the repairs are made, which Eaton said could take weeks to months, the building will be indefinitely closed. In the interim, office staff members are working in various locations, including from other county offices and from home.
“We are all working from wherever we can do so and are working together to make sure that the work of justice will continue uninterrupted,” said Eaton. “It’s really pretty incredible we have people working extremely hard to keep things going.”
While the office is functioning, Eaton said there are limitations due to not having access to the building. This includes the limited ability to respond to phone calls and send or receive mail.
“I want to make sure the public knows we will respond to all communication in as timely a fashion as possible,” said Prosecutor Eaton. “For now, email is the best way to reach staff.”
People can contact the prosecutor’s office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.