Accidental fire guts courthouse in Webster County

By The Associated Press

WALTHALL — Authorities say a predawn fire that gutted the Webster County courthouse in Walthall, Miss., was caused by an electrical short.

Sheriff Tim Mitchell told supervisors on Thursday that an investigation showed the fire started when a power strip in a first-floor office on the southwest corner of the building shorted out. Mitchell says the fire marshal’s office says the fire is non-suspicious.

The two-story courthouse was built in 1915. The town of Walthall is located just north of Eupora on Mississippi Highway 9.

Local officials say damage is minimal to records kept in vaults. There is some heat and water damage. They say computer-related information is secure.

County officials say they are working on bringing in portable office space.