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Church renovation forces neighbor out of home

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - After crews spent a week removing the roof from a century old church, a city inspector has asked the neighbor across the street to temporarily move out.

The request came after the roof and most of the rafters were cut away from the church at 27th and Q Streets in the Churchill area of Richmond.

The inspector told Martha Whitfield on Saturday night, that he feared the front wall of the church could come down, so crews blocked the street and asked Whitfield to leave her home.

Monday afternoon, inspectors finally got back with Whitfield and told her she may be blocked out at least two more days.

The city had recently condemned the building in an attempt to keep people out. They feared the church's roof could collapse.

The pastor and congregation, who at the time of purchase two-years ago, knew the empty church was in serious need of repairs.

In an effort to begin shoring up the building, a general contractor removed the slate shingles, many of the rafters and the bell tower.

Some neighbors said they are now concerned the building may be too far gone to save, but the Historic Richmond Foundation said it wants to see the building saved and is now concerned with the entire inside being exposed to the weather.