Sikh mission in Island Lake shut down for safety violations
A Sikh house of worship in Island Lake has been shut down by the local building department because of safety violations, village officials said.
Inspections at the Guru Nanak Sikh Mission of America, 217 W. State Road, revealed more than a dozen code violations.
Among the most serious, all of the building's fire-exit doors were locked from the inside with deadbolts, and some of the locks were taped over to prevent access with a key, according to a letter from village Building Inspector Frank DeSort.
DeSort also discovered broken windows, four sleeping rooms that aren't permitted under village code, exposed wiring and other safety violations, according to the letter, which was delivered to the mission's leader on Dec. 9.
A subsequent inspection by the Wauconda Fire Protection District, which serves Island Lake, noted safety violations as well, Division Chief Joe Schwarz said.
A representative of the mission could not be reached for comment.
The facility is a gurdwara, a place of worship for followers of the Sikh faith. It opened in 1997 and had about 500 members, as of a 2006 Daily Herald article.
DeSort's inspection followed a Dec. 8 visit by police officers to the gurdwara. An officer trying to mediate a dispute between mission members spotted the locked exit doors and notified the fire and building departments, according to reports.
According to DeSort's letter, other code violations discovered during the inspection included: a woman's bathroom that was in disrepair, extension cords running through walls and vents; holiday lights hanging from power lines; and non-working electrical outlets that appeared discolored, possibly due to overheating.
A fire-alarm system needs to be installed, Schwarz said. Additionally, cleaning reports for some kitchen equipment must be provided, he said.
Permits will be required for repairs to be completed, the letter states. Additionally, the contractors who do the work must be registered with the village.
Charges or fines will not be issued if the problems are handled "in a timely fashion," Schwarz said. DeSort agreed.
"We just want to get it fixed," DeSort said.