Archdiocese Orders Closure Of Fishtown Church - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Archdiocese Orders Closure Of Fishtown Church

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Parishioners of Saint Laurentius Church in Fishtown gathered outside the building Friday afternoon after getting news they didn't want to hear.

"They're confused. They're scared. People who are parents here are they going to have a place for their kids to go to school in September? Do we have a church that we're going to be able to worship in?" said Susan Phillips. She's responding to a letter the Archdiocese sent out stating the building is closed immediately for safety reasons. It goes on to say that based on a study by an independent engineering firm, the building is in imminent danger of a collapse. Susan claims during a meeting earlier this week there was no indication this would happen.

"We need time. That's all we're asking for. In the meantime, the church doors to be closed in three days is a shock," she said.

According to the Archdiocese the first facade inspection happened in the fall of last year. It allegedly found problems like vertical cracks, improperly completed cement patch repairs and other deterioration. Protective scaffolding and netting were put up around the church as a safety precaution.

But a follow up inspection this week, the Archdiocese says, revealed even more dangerous problems. Much of it caused by the harsh winter weather.

"I guess they think they could somehow knock this down for less than what it would cost to repair those spires," said AJ Thomspon who wants the church saved and feels repairs can be made. He's been helping with fundraising.

"No one is denying. You'd have to be a moron to look at this and think there's not a problem. Is it a problem that you have to knock it down?" he asked.

The Archdiocese says it's not sure if the closure is permanent or what the ultimate solution will be. The school next door is still open. Parishioners will worship at Holy Name nearby.

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