BARDWELL, Ky. (AP) _ An early morning fire gutted a small courthouse in far western Kentucky on Wednesday, a county official said.
No one was inside the Carlisle County courthouse when the blaze started sometime before 6:30 a.m., officials said.
The building was almost destroyed, with only the outer brick walls still standing, said John Roberts, the county's judge-executive.
``I would thought have thought it would have held up better than it did,'' Roberts said. ``But once it caught fire, it raced through that structure.''
The structure was built in the early 1980s after the previous courthouse was burned down by an arsonist, Roberts said.
He said the fire was reported by someone who saw flames in the window of the sheriff's office.
Roberts, whose office was in the building, said the one-story courthouse housed about two dozen employees. They will be moved to temporary offices, he said.
Water flowing off the site from firefighters' hoses froze in the morning cold and created hazardous road conditions on U.S. 51 in Bardwell.