COOK COUNTY COURTHOUSE — Gushing water flooded the Cook County Courthouse at 26th and California Tuesday night after the cold weather froze a portion of the sprinkler system.
Torrents of water started pouring down from the ceiling in the lobby of the George N. Leighton Courthouse shortly after 6 p.m.
A source on the scene said that frozen pipes burst, triggering the building's sprinkler system.
A spokeswoman for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle later said that maintenance workers at the courthouse noticed a sprinkler head had frozen and was leaking earlier Tuesday.
They shut off the water to the sprinkler system and made plans to repair it in the evening after most of the employees and members of the public attending court hearings had left, spokeswoman Kristen Mack said.
But the sprinkler pumps had not been completely turned off, and when workers opened it, water started pouring to the floor, causing isolated flooding, she said.
The Chicago Fire Department responded and was on hand to assist.
Some attorneys in the building stood at the edge of the flood trying to figure out how they would be able to get out the front door.
A sheriff's deputy eventually escorted them out the back entrance of the building.
Mack said the courthouse would be cleaned up and open for business by Wednesday morning.