City Walk resumes overnight residence operations amid battle over fire code violation

Resident were told Monday they couldn’t be housed overnight
City Walk able to shelter overnight until court date on April 11
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 10:46 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Just a day after City Walk Urban Mission Shelter residents were told they couldn’t be housed overnight, the organization learned that the order will be paused, at least until a court date in April.

The shelter was cited for a fire code violation in November when TFD discovered the building does not have a working sprinkler system. City Walk was allowed to temporarily implement a “fire watch system,” training roughly 8 people to get certified. But Monday they were told to halt overnight operations, leaving about 30 people who normally stay at City Walk scrambling to make arrangements.

“We don’t need compliance, the state statute for the fire code is the fire watch which is already in place for the shelter,” Pastor Renee Miller, who runs City Walk, said.

Miller told WCTV she received word Tuesday that the shelter would be able to resume housing residents overnight until April 11. City Walk’s attorneys filed an injunction Monday to stop the City of Tallahassee from enforcing the order.

Fire Marshal Jason Greisel spoke to WCTV’s Mike Rogers on Tuesday. He confirmed City Walk was found to be in violation of parts 1 and 1.01 of the National Fire Prevention Code.

Miller said the shelter continues to work on coming into compliance.

“You can’t get the sprinkler system in a day, you can’t even get one in a month,” Miller said. “You have to hire an architect, there has to be place, you have to get a permit and it has to be inspected.”

As for what will happen after April 11, it’s not yet clear.

WCTV asked TFD specific questions about the timing of Monday’s order, why it’s being enforced now and whether City Walk was given a specific deadline.

TFD said they cannot comment on pending litigation.