Saint Laurentius Church in Fishtown will be closed until further notice because the building is “in imminent danger of a collapse,” the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Friday.
Officials said an independent engineering firm examined the church building, located at 1608 E. Berks St., multiple times over the past several months.
An initial façade inspection in the fall of 2013 revealed vertical cracks in the brownstone masonry, deteriorated faces of brownstone and improperly completed cement patch repairs, according to the Archdiocese. Protective scaffolding and netting was installed around the church in a bid to keep parishioners safe.
But, after performing a follow up inspection earlier this week, structural engineers found the church’s condition had “greatly deteriorated” under the weight of harsh winter weather and is now in danger of collapsing, the Archdiocese said in a news release issued Friday. Engineers recommended the worship site be immediately shuttered, and the Archdiocese complied.
Officials said the future of the church building is still being considered. In the meantime, all masses will be celebrated at the Holy Name of Jesus Church, located at 701 E. Gaul St. in Fishtown.
The Archdiocese said it will continue to work with engineering consultants, as well as parish and city leaders, to ensure the safety of parishioners and the overall community.