ST. HELENS -- The Columbia County courthouse reopened Tuesday morning but is limited in what it can do after a toxic leak shut down the building last Friday.

Officials said a rotten egg smell in the building prompted firefighters to pull an alarm Friday. The problem was sourced to a backup battery.

The alarm caused the courthouse's fire suppression system that was supposed to protect the server room to activate and spread powder throughout the room.

Many of the computers were down. Cleanup crews were working to clear the server room of the nontoxic powder and bring the computers back online.

We anticipate business not as usual but we are open to the public, doing the best we can with old hand paper files and manual stuff, said Columbia County Commissioner Henry Heimuller.

The courthouse was unable to issue building permits and was working to figure out how to issue marriage licenses and real estate transactions.

Commissioners suggested people call ahead to make sure the courthouse could process the transactions they need.

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