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Cicero orders closure of church for safety violations

Cicero orders closure of church for safety violations 5.00/5 (100.00%) 1 vote

The Town of Cicero today ordered a church run by Bishop Herman Jackson closed immediately because of multiple serious building safety hazards.

Cicero officials accused Bishop Jackson of ignoring life-threatening physical hazards at the Arch of Safety Apostolic Faith Temple, 5247 W. 23rd Street, which has no water, no electricity and no heat.

“We have bent over backwards to help the pastor keep his church open because we care about the congregation. Last Sunday, we allowed services in the church portion of the building, which also includes a shuttered day-care center, on his promise that he would have contractors make repairs this week. Nothing has been done,” said Town Spokesman Ray Hanania.

“Yet, Bishop Jackson has threatened to convene his congregation services in the church this Sunday despite the hazards which in many cases are life threatening. And we find that disregard of the health and well-being of his congregation to be unacceptable.”

Hanania called the Arch of Safety Church “a safety nightmare.”

IMG_8584In addition to the lack of water, electricity and heat, that the Bishop could easily have restored this past week, Hanania said the church has multiple other safety hazards. They include: damaged and collapsed ceilings; water and mold in the walls which are bulging outwards; filth and garbage strewn throughout; and broken exit and emergency signage and damaged doorways.

“We are worried about the safety of his congregation, which he says he is going to bring to the church Sunday with or without town approval and without making any of the basic and essential safety repairs,” Hanania said.

Jackson faces charges he defrauded the State of Illinois of child daycare funds. The court has allowed him to travel to his church in Cicero to conduct Sunday services.

Last Sunday, officials of the Cicero Building Department allowed him to conduct limited religious services under the promise that he would restore water, electricity and heat to the property, which is a combined church and day care center.

IMG_8585But Thursday night, no repairs were completed and the Town Ordered the building closed.

He’s using propane gas tanks to fuel mobile floor “torpedo heaters” that blast out heat at a high and uncontrollable level. There’s electrical cords everywhere crisscrossing the floors, some covered in water that has leaked.

“We have urged him to find another church in Cicero to conduct his religious services and again have offered to allow the church services to be held Sunday morning if he can get the heater repaired and safe,” Hanania said.

The Town has given Bishop Jackson until Saturday at 5 pm to remediate life safety issues or the building will be boarded up.

Photos and videos of the recent inspection of the property conducted by the Town of Cicero are online and available for download and viewing.

Visit http://www.CiceroMultiMedia.com to view videos and photos of the property.

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