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Hancock collects first water bills since fire | Community Spirit

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Hancock collects first water bills since fire
Hancock collects first water bills since fire

Exactly a week after a raging fire torched most of Hancock County's courthouse, Monday marked the first signs of revival for county government, as they collected water payments from county customers.

It's the first courthouse activity in the county's temporary space, the Sparta branch of the Oconee Fall Line Technical College on Highway 15.

Tuesday, a structural engineer and an environmental engineer will be the first to step foot inside the burned down courthouse to find any salvageable records.

Clifton Harrell, a longtime Hancock County native, says it's hard to process the loss of the historic courthouse and most everything inside.

"It's just like somebody died in your family," Harrell said. "I hate that it burned. It's something that just sits with you... in your heart."

He says his original birth certificate, marriage licenses and other records were likely burned in the fire.

County employees like county clerk Broderick Foster won't stop fighting to rebuild the true home of Hancock's board of elections, several courts and commission offices. 
"We are going back in that structure. We're going to try to salvage it. We're in the process of getting a proposal together for a contractor to shore up the building and stabilize it," Foster said.

It's a slow process, but driven by purpose and urgency, it's moving along.

"No matter what, we have to do what's best for the citizens and for ourselves," he said.

The courthouse has been turned back over to the county after the state fire marshal ruled the cause of the fire undetermined.

Glenn Allen, a spokesman for the state fire marshal's office, says that ruling marks the end of their investigation.

If you have a water bill to pay in Hancock County, you can stop by the college from 8 a.m. to noon Mondays through Fridays.

Water clerk, Cindy Tucker, says no late fees will be tacked on because of the fire.

Follow 13WMAZ's Anita Oh on Twitter @anita_oh.

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