Albany Fire Dept. wants to inspect all churches in the city

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Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 11:49 AM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The Albany Fire Department is making it a priority to inspect churches throughout the city.

Fire department officials said some of these churches haven’t been checked for fire hazards since 2016. They also said they haven’t received responses after making visits to these churches during the week.

Department officials said they are trying to avoid having to show up during church service on Sundays.

Senior Pastor of First Albany Deliverance Cathedral Church Felix Revills believes there should...
Senior Pastor of First Albany Deliverance Cathedral Church Felix Revills believes there should be better communication and coordination with the fire department to make this happen.(WALB)

“Unfortunately, many of our pastors have 9 to 5 jobs and they work during the daytime. So, I don’t feel like it should be a situation where they’re penalized because they are not able to get there to open up at a certain time during the day,” said Felix Revills, senior pastor of First Albany Deliverance Cathedral Church.

Revills said he doesn’t believe it will be necessary to interrupt a service, and his church welcomes them to come to inspect during the week.

Albany Fire Department Deputy Chief Sebon Burns said some of these churches haven't been...
Albany Fire Department Deputy Chief Sebon Burns said some of these churches haven't been inspected since 2016.(WALB)

Albany Fire Department Deputy Chief Sebon Burns said some of the churches have been around for hundreds of years.

He detailed some of the things they’re trying to inspect.

“We inspect the fire alarm system for your larger churches. We inspect the sprinkler system if they’re really a big church and we also inspect the exit light, the emergency lights. And some of these churches have stoves in them and they cook, and we want them to make sure your hood secretion system is checked and that needs to be checked every six months. Fire extinguishers need to be checked every year, making sure they’re working,” said Burns.

Burns said this process only takes 10-15 minutes based on the size of the church.

Senior Pastor of Berachah Fellowship Church Ronald Smith said the fire department should make...
Senior Pastor of Berachah Fellowship Church Ronald Smith said the fire department should make surprise visits to churches for inspections.(WALB)

Senior Pastor of Berachah Fellowship Church Ronald Smith gave his take on how the fire department should proceed.

“You want to make sure people are in compliance when they come back. Matter of fact, I don’t even think they need to let you know in advance. I think they need to give you a surprise visit. So, therefore, when they do come, they could see things as they really are,” said Smith.

The fire department plans to continue to send letters and leave their business cards, but if they don’t get responses, then they will start to interrupt church services.

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