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City church deemed safe enough for resident to return home

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RICHMOND, Va (WTVR)—A woman who has lived in her home for almost three decades, was asked to leave because the church across the street might collapse, and officials feared for her safety.

Since Saturday evening, Martha Whitfield said she's gotten nothing but the run around from Richmond City Inspectors.

Whitfield has lived in her Q street home for 29 years, but Saturday evening she was asked to leave. A police officer and city inspector arrived and said they feared the front wall of the church across the street could collapse.

Whitfield said that come Sunday she still stayed away because no one had contacted her.

Monday morning, she and her family went to City Hall, where an inspector said he would meet her at her home in 20 minutes.

She said that one inspector arrived only to leave without getting out of his car or talking with her about the situation.

Late Monday, inspectors lined up a 9 a.m. meeting for Tuesday with the family, at their Q Street home, but family members said that once again, inspectors failed to show up for the meeting.

It would be mid-day before Whitfield said she got another call, saying it was safe for her to go home.

No one ever met face to face with her, she and her family said, to explain the situation.

The pastor of the church said the site is safe and secure.

A structural engineer has confirmed that and met certain requirements of the city, which has now deemed the building safe.

Pastor Jeffrey Lee says he hopes to have a new roof on the building, within the next two weeks.