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Fire closes health department offices

The McDuffie County Health Department will be without its facility on Greenway Street for a month to six weeks because of a recent fire, County Manager Don Norton said Monday.

The fire broke out May 29 in a dental chair and caused "fairly significant smoke damage," county Commission Chairman Charlie Newton said at the commission's June 1 meeting.

"I don't know what that chair was made of, but it made serious smoke," Newton said.

Norton said Monday that cleanup costs are estimated at about $66,000 but that he would have no estimate on renovation for several days.

"We will have to rebuild the ceiling," he said.

Kathy Linebarger, a nurse practitioner and the county nurse manager, said the department has contingency plans that will enable it to continue serving the public.

"We've already set up two clinics" elsewhere, she said.

The Department of Family and Children Services, which is on the otherside of the building, has offered a couple of offices, she said. The county senior center, which is across the street, has offered some space. Dr. Daryl Wiley, a Thomson family practitioner, has also offered the department some space, she said.

Although the blaze was confined to the room where the chair was, she said, the damage was extensive.

"It's a very bad odor, and it's a lot of smoke and soot," Linebarger said. "We're trying to continue the services the clients need without disruption to them."

Web posted on Thursday, June 09, 2011

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