Jacksonville church closed by Fire Marshal over permits

Ken Amaro is on your side. 9/12/2016

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Sunday, when the church pews are full, the members of Acts 2 Church received a rude awakening.

"They came in during our service; the fire marshal came in and said we're being shut down and told everybody to get their stuff and leave," said Pastor Tub Rorabaugh.

He said he was not on campus when it happened, but he was just as stunned as those who were there.

The church is located at 8595 103rd Street. Originally built as a warehouse, the building has been used as a church for nearly a decade

"We have been here four years, I have no idea why it is an issue now," he said.

Pastor Tub said in May he was hit with a surprise fire inspection and given several safety code citations. But in July the violations were corrected.

"Going through this process now I feel like I am never going to beat city hall," he said.

The city wants a set building conversion plans in order to get a Certificate of Use.

"To appease the city," said Rorabaugh. "It will financially break us if we have to go through all those things that they're telling us that we have to go through now."
 
A meeting on Wednesday ended unresolved but the pastor said he though he had time to get things done. He did not expect to be given a cease and desist on Sunday morning.

"We have no time they won't give us time to take care of the things," he said.

Tom Francis is spokesperson for the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.

"The building has been non compliant far too long," said Francis.

He said the pastor was warned at the Wednesday meeting.

"The pastor was told he did not have a temporary CoU and he could not operate," said Francis.

"We just want to be a church," said Pastor Tub. "We just want to do what we have done for the past four years."
 
He says what happened Sunday is very discouraging, and they don't know if they'll be able to continue serving the community.

"We are truly willing to work with the city in what we have to do," he said. "We would very much like to be back in this building again and serving God the very best that we can."


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