Inspector shutters local church before Thanksgiving | News
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Pastor Aaron Burgin of Horn of Salvation Ministries opened the church's doors November 2013. He said he didn't have a problem until he painted the building, hung his signs and opened an emergency food bank.
On Thursday, the city's fire inspector issued the church a cease and desist order.
"I'm out of business," said Burgin. "There will be no services here."
Burgin said it also means there will be no Thanksgiving meals given out this year.
"Basically what we do at our food bank is shutdown," he said.
The Navy veteran said he was working with the city to resolve issues with the zoning department and even told the inspector, but it did not matter.
"I asked the city to let me operate while I take care of these discrepancies and last night that answer was no," he said.
Burgin said the building he's leasing used to be a church, but there are no records of any inspections until now. He wonders, why not?
He said his experience reveals that when it comes to city government the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.
"We're working with people on one hand," said Burgin," while another branch of the government is writing us citations."
The fire inspector wants him to change the way the front door opens, outward instead of inward; to install panic hardware on all of the doors; and to get an approved fire alarm system. Citations were also issued for improper use of extension cords and insufficient number of emergency lights, plus not having the proper tags on the fire extinguishers.
"We are going to comply," said Burgin, "we are going to comply. We will do what we have to do."
Tom Francis, spokesperson for Jacksonville Fire and Rescue, says the issue is simple: the church must be compliant with the life safety code.
Burgin said as leader of the church and a citizen of the United States, he will comply with all local laws. He said the problem in this case is the city makes the process difficult.
"We just wanted to make it known how this process is broken," said Burgin, "how hard it is to go down and deal with the city of Jacksonville."
He said because of the bureaucracy this year there will be no Thanksgiving meals giveaway and his service will be held at different location.