City inspects Springfield church used as sanctuary - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

City inspects Springfield church used as sanctuary

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

A new chapter unfolded today for a mother taking sanctuary in a Springfield church.

Gisella Collazo, a Peruvian woman facing deportation, drew disapproval from Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno after taking refuge back in March.

Today, city officials reinspected an apartment inside the South Congregational Church after the city found code violations.

"We're pleased to have this phase of the sanctuary over," said Christine Tetreault.

Like many family's homes, there's a display of children's paintings and coloring, but it's anything but an average home.

Collazo took sanctuary in the South Congregational Church in Springfield after facing deportation.

"We're here entirely for Gisella and our hope is that somehow the immigration process can work its way out to allowing her to stay here with her family, as everyone would want," said Bill Conely, a lay leader with the church.

Collazo's children, who were both born in the United States. live there, too.

Following disapproving comments from Sarno, the city inspected the church back in April. 

"Steve Desilets from the building department was here several weeks ago and did an inspection and he found four minor things that needed to be corrected," Tetreault added.

Those code violations include adding a smoke detector, fixing the window cranks, and blocked egress from the kitchen. 

Springfield Building Commissioner Steve Desliets told Western Mass News that the action violations were fixed and the case is closed.

However, as the days pass, Collazo simply wants to return to her life before taking refuge. 

"Nobody wants or chooses to go into sanctuary. This is a last resort," Tetreault said.

Western Mass News reached out to Mayor Sarno.  He was not available for comment.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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