City officials inspect Springfield sanctuary church - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

City officials inspect Springfield sanctuary church

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

City inspectors were back at a Springfield church on Thursday.

They were armed with a search warrant after being denied access to the church on Monday where a woman facing deportation has been living for a week and a half with her two children.

The church was pleased with the results of the inspection.

Inspectors came to do what they were ordered to do and after they were finished, they found no major problems.

[PHOTOS: Inside the Springfield sanctuary church]

Those inspectors arrived at South Congregational Church promptly at 9 a.m.  They were ordered to inspect the church by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

Sarno said that using the church as sanctuary for Gisela Collazo and her two children raises the issues of public health, safety, and code compliance.

Inspectors checked out the living quarters.

Smoke detectors were examined as inspectors looked at life safety, two means of egress in the event of an emergency, cooking facilities, and sanitary facilities for bathing and washing.

After the inspection, code enforcement commissioner inspector Steve Desilets said no major problems were found.

"The violations there are pretty minor, just maintenance to get the windows open.  The big things are met - egress, smoke detection, they have good clean facilities, and the sanitary conditions, hot water, bathrooms, shower," Desilets explained.

As the inspection was being conducted, church members prayed and held hands in song.

South Congregational Church assistant minister Louis Mitchell was proud of his church and its mission and pleased with the outcome of the inspection.

"The inspectors were very gracious.  They came to do a job.  We facilitated them doing their job.  It went very well.  They asked good questions.  We had the appropriate answers.  I don;tr see any problems moving forward," Mitchell added.

After receiving the report from inspectors, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno issued this statement that read: “Building Commissioner Steve Desilets and Fire Lieutenant Richard Martin have done their jobs and their report speaks for itself. We just want to be sure that public health and safety issues are being complied with.”

The building inspector will now file a report which will be forwarded to the church to correct the minor problems that were found.

The church will have seven days to comply.

Meanwhile, Collazo and her two children remain living there safely.

?Western Mass News will continue to follow this story and will have more as it becomes available.

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