ELLSWORTH, Maine — A smoking, overheating battery caused the Hancock County Courthouse to be evacuated for roughly 45 minutes Tuesday morning.
Employees working near the district courtroom noticed the smoke around 10:30 a.m. and activated the fire alarm. Court employees, county officials, members of the public and emergency dispatchers with Hancock County regional communications center were forced to evacuate the complex as Ellsworth firefighters investigated the cause.
All incoming 911 calls were rerouted during the brief time that the dispatch center was closed.
Chief Richard Tupper of the Ellsworth Fire Department said the smoke was caused by a battery in an emergency light that overheated. Tupper said there was no fire but the department had to bring in fans to ventilate that portion of the building before staff could return.
Ellsworth police officers, whose headquarters is across State Street in City Hall, and members of the sheriff’s department closed State Street to traffic while firefighters were investigating. The building reopened just before 11:15 a.m.