'Strange Odor' Prompts Fla. Courthouse Closure


The Coral Gables Courthouse was closed Friday after several people got sick Thursday and were rushed to a hospital after the building was recently fumigated.

The suspension of operations follows Thursday afternoon's closure by Coral Gables Fire Rescue. The building was closed after several people got sick after smelling what is described as a "strange odor."

This is a precautionary measure to protect the public and all personnel who work in the building, and to make the building available to the County for any follow-up testing they may need to do on Friday, said Chief Judge Joel H. Brown.

"It took me two hours to get here so I won't be late, and I came here for nothing," said Angel Medina, who had a scheduled court hearing.

Medina is being sued and wanted to resolve the case Friday, but instead of a judge, he faced caution tape and a locked door.

"I am kind of upset because the state says he has to show up," said Medina

Collections attorney Robert Orovitz turned the sidewalk into a courtroom, meeting with clients and striking deals.

"That's the nice part about working something out, even though the court is closed. Because we worked it out, they don't have to come back," said Orovitz.

Hazmat crews did not find any traces of fumigant as the Health Department launched an investigation of its own. In the meantime, defendants like Medina are left in the dark. .

"I guess go home. That's the only thing I can do. Hopefully, a judge can pass something whenever he makes a new court date for me," said Medina.

Court hearings scheduled for Friday will be canceled and rescheduled for future dates and times.

The courthouse could reopen as soon as Monday. An update will be released over the weekend to advise the public of Monday's operational status. The courthouse is located at 3100 Ponce De Leon Blvd.

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