We have a reporter and photographer on the scene of the Chatham County Courthouse fire. Here is the latest official release from the county:
Just before 4:45 pm, Pittsboro Fire Department responded to reports of a fire in the upper part of the Historic Chatham County Courthouse. By 5:00 pm, heavy smoke billowed out the courthouse clock tower, which has been covered in scaffolding for renovation work on the exterior.
Everyone working in the building was evacuated safely and are fine.
Firefighters from the Town of Pittsboro responded first, but have been joined by crews and ladder trucks from Siler City and North Chatham as well as firefighters from Moncure and West Sanford Fire Departments.
Firefighters continue to battle the fire, which involves the third floor and clocktower. Heavy smoke has engulfed downtown Pittsboro and people are urged to stay away unless they have official emergency business. Visibility is very limited in the area.
At this time, Chatham County does not have specific information on the cause of the fire. The courthouse had been undergoing major exterior renovations for the past two months, with extensive scaffolding covering the entire building.