Hillsboro Municipal Court proceedings were briefly interrupted Friday morning by the smell of burning plastic – an effect of a fire caused by an extension cord.
Local attorney Bill Armintrout extinguished the fire “within 30 seconds,” said Hillsboro Municipal Court Judge David H. McKenna.
Armintrout said later that when he saw the fire his first thought was, “Can I just stomp this out? Or do I have to use the fire extinguisher?”
Clerk Diane Seeling ran for the extinguisher and Armintrout ultimately used it to douse the fire.
“All at great peril to myself,” he added with a smile.
Deputy clerk Mandy Roberts was the first to spot the flames. The cord was quickly unplugged by deputy clerk Stephanie Bailey, and deputy clerk Elaine Kelch called dispatch.
“It could have been a lot worse than it was,” Kelch said. “We all did pull together on this.”
Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District was called as a precaution.
During a recess following the brief blaze defendants, lawyers, and others waited in the Highland County Justice Center lobby and milled around the building. Multiple fans and opened doors were used to clear out the smoky air.
“We appreciate Mr. Armintrout being such a hero for us,” McKenna said. He added, with a grin, “I hope we don’t have another fire for at least 15 more years.”
Reach Sarah Allen at 937-393-3456, ext. 1680, or on Twitter @SarahAllenHTG.