Update: Wednesday afternoon, Judge Joel Baker released a statement to the press about what caused the evacuations, saying that it was indeed a bag of ballast that fell down the elevator shaft. County maintenance crews responded to the situation as well as the elevator repair company.
The Smith County courthouse was evacuated for about 25 minutes this morning when a bag of cement used as a counterbalance in an elevator fell and burst, filling the courthouse with cloudy white powder.
The incident happened around 9:00 am this morning. Visitors and employees were evacuated, though everyone was back to work in about half an hour.
Cathryn Khalil / firstname.lastname@example.org