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Forsyth County Courthouse evacuated after suspect’s e-cigarette triggers fire alarm
Kenneth Fanning
Kenneth Wayne Fanning.

The Forsyth County Courthouse was evacuated Thursday morning as a man inhaled one last puff of freedom before attending his court date.

Kenneth Fanning, 47, of Jacksonville, Florida, reportedly caused the fire alarm to go off at the courthouse in downtown Cumming about 9:05 a.m. June 8 after he used an electronic vape cigarette in a bathroom, according to Deputy Doug Rainwater, a spokesman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

Forsyth County Courthouse
People file back into the Forsyth County Courthouse after it was evacuated due to a fire alarm when a man used an electronic vape cigarette in a bathroom. - photo by Forsyth County News
Fanning was at the courthouse for a plea hearing at 9 a.m. on a previous incident for which he was charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence, failure to maintain lane and driving on the wrong way of a one-way street, according to court records.

Now he will also be charged with contempt of court, for which he was scheduled to appear before a judge Thursday afternoon — after press time.

“All the courtrooms were busy, and people were coming in,” Rainwater said. “It’s standard procedure for us to [evacuate] to check everything out.”

There was never a danger to anyone in the courthouse or the public due to the fire alarm.

Fanning’s original charges stem from a Nov. 12, 2016 incident. Forsyth County Superior Court Judge Leslie Abernathy-Maddox is presiding over the case.

Amid the evacuation, a different male reportedly began banging his head against the wall “in an attempt to harm himself.”

It was not immediately clear what the man was in court for. He was retrained and taken to an area hospital for evaluation.

No additional charges are expected.

Normal operations throughout the courthouse were established about 9:45 a.m.