MADISON, Ind. (AP) - Firefighters poured water on the
gold-colored dome of the Jefferson County Courthouse in Madison as
flames engulfed the 154-year-old building Wednesday evening.
But the dome and the courthouse's central tower appeared to be
severely damaged in video shown on television.
Fire crews from across southern Indiana and northern Kentucky
were called to the scenic Ohio River city to battle the blaze that
was reported about 6 p.m. Smoke billowed hundreds of feet into the
air and flames shot out the top of the building.
Video on Louisville, Ky. television station WHAS showed inmates
shackled and kneeling outside the jail adjacent to the courthouse,
where they apparently were evacuated for safety. Prisoners later
were loaded onto waiting school buses. The Sheriff's Department
declined to say where they were taken.
The entire area was blocked off to traffic. No injuries were
immediately reported and media reports said nearby buildings did
not appear to be threatened.
Jefferson County Prosecutor Chad Lewis said crews had been
renovating the dome and had just finished painting it in
preparation for Madison's bicentennial, June 6-14.
An August 2006 fire damaged two other downtown buildings,
including the former city hall.
The city of about 12,000 is designated a National Register
Historic District, according to Historic Madison Inc.'s Web site.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)