Timothy Reilly doesn’t usually race to the Westfield branch of the Hampden County Register of Deeds to file loan refinancing documents, but after tornado damage closed the Springfield office, he bolted to Westfield late Thursday afternoon.

“Thank goodness for this branch,” said Reilly, a real estate lawyer.

His thanksgiving seems appropriate, and his clients likely feel the same. Reilly, a real estate lawyer, barely beat the clock to file documents on behalf of a small church whose loan he is refinancing. The church is already overdue on its mortgage, and the fact he was able to submit the documents Thursday saved the religious group up to $500 in late fees, which he called “a lot of money” for a modest-sized church, which he would not name for confidentiality reasons.

“The branch being open keeps commerce moving forward,” he added. “We’re able to record deeds and mortgages. I’m just thankful they were still open.”

Even as life came to a standstill for thousands of Hampden County residents affected by the severe weather Thursday, the business of Hampden County carried on.

Normally closed on Thursdays, an announcement on Hampden County registry’s website proclaimed the Westfield satellite office would be opened for duty that day. And it’s a good thing, because business was brisk.

“It was quite busy,” Donald Ashe, Hampden County’s Register of Deeds, told Banker & Tradesman. “It tells us that people do go on the internet. Word got out, and people could see that the Springfield office would be closed. The majority of people that came in today were the closing attorneys, and some people were coming in to do a little research.”

In many ways, Ashe said, this latest hiccup is no different from the contingency plans put in place to deal with other, more common service interruptions caused by severe winter weather. The system used to notify employees and the public of changes, both by telephone and internet, worked as advertised.

Officials counted $6,000 in fees and closing costs in Westfield, but said there were many more transactions they didn’t have time to log.

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by James Cronin time to read: 1 min