Ceiling collapse prompts evacuations at North County courthouse

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VISTA, Calif. — Firefighters and engineers are investigating after a ceiling collapse caused evacuations at a courthouse in Vista.

The San Diego Superior Court says the structural damage happened in one of the courtrooms Monday around 6 a.m. at the Superior Court North County Division on 325 S Melrose Dr.

When employees of the courthouse walked into the courtroom in the north building, where criminal and juvenile matters are handled, they found the ceiling had collapsed, according to the Vista Fire Department.

Court officials said the ceiling collapse happened in Department 14, which is located in an “older building,”

“The older building only has been evacuated and an engineer is on the way to assess the damage,” court officials said.

No one was inside the courtroom at the time of the incident and no injuries were reported by firefighters.

“I appreciate everyone’s patience as we wait for more information on when we can resume operations in that section of the courthouse,” Presiding Judge Lorna Alksne said. “We are working to relocate court appearances and I apologize for any inconvenience.”

According to the court officials, the closure impacts 18 courtrooms, the criminal business office, juvenile court business office, Family Court Services, Family Law Facilitator and the children’s waiting room.

The San Diego Superior Court advise the following for those who need access to the building:

JURORS: Should continue to report for duty by phone as scheduled.
FAMILY COURT SERVICES: Mediation services will continue as scheduled.
FAMILY LAW FACILITATOR: Report to the triage table in the South building lobby.
JUVENILE: Report to the Civil business office in the South building.
CRIMINAL BUSINESS OFFICE: Filings will be accepted in the lobby of the South building.
CHILDREN’S WAITING ROOM: The Children’s Waiting Room is located in the impacted
section of the building and will be closed until further notice.

The south building and the courthouse annex, where civil, small claims and traffic matters are typically handled, remain open.

The North County Regional Center is a facility shared by the Superior Court, Sheriff, Probation, District Attorney, Revenue and Recovery and the Board of Supervisors.

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