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Mount Vernon catches up on inspections of community public spaces

The city of Mount Vernon is prioritizing public safety as it catches up on more than a decade-long backlog of building inspections.

Jonathan Gordon

May 22, 2024, 6:49 PM

Updated 27 days ago

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The city of Mount Vernon is prioritizing public safety as it catches up on more than a decade-long backlog of building inspections.
While the state mandates public places with a capacity of at least 50 people be inspected each year some of the 270 qualified sites citywide haven't been checked in 15 years.
"The state is starting to come down to make sure these things are done, and we've been working with the state for the last four months to make sure that we're doing them right," said Mount Vernon Building Commissioner Patrick Holder.
Mount Vernon Buildings Commissioner Patrick Holder said the delay was mostly due to a lack of resources. He added that other municipalities around the country are in a similar situation.
On Wednesday, May 22, Mount Vernon Fire Safety Inspector Sylver Jones walked News 12 through her recently completed four-hour inspection of Allen Memorial Church.
"Our initiative is to save lives as well protect the integrity of our building structures here in Mount Vernon," she said.
Sylver said she and the two other city building inspectors are looking for things like the right number of fire extinguishers, working emergency lights, non-expired smoke detectors, unobstructed pathways and well-lit exit signs.
"We don't want something to happen here but in case of emergency we have the tools and resources to take care of it," Sylver said.
Built in the 1940s the main church structure is one of the city's oldest houses of worship.
Sylver said the church was in relatively good shape and had made the required changes to get up to code.
Senior Pastor Carlton Spruill said he felt like he has provided a safer place for people to call the church home.
"It being safe is at the heart of the mission of the church," he said.
Sylver and Holder said both the buildings and fire teams will continue to inspect and enforce codes until they're all caught up.
"These things will go on annually and I think at the end of the day it's going to save lives," Holder said.


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