PINELLAS PARK — A deck that collapsed recently at the Wagon Wheel Flea Market was not up to code and may have been built without a permit, according to county officials.
Pinellas County has ordered the Wagon Wheel to clean up the debris and hold off rebuilding unless it gets permits from the county.
Hardy Huntley, owner of the Wagon Wheel, did not return phone messages asking for comment.
Jason Loomis said he was sitting on the deck at the flea market on Feb. 7 when the structure collapsed without warning. Loomis said he helped two elderly women out from under picnic tables. Neither they nor anyone else seemed to be hurt, he said, and flea market employees roped off the area. It was unclear whether or not emergency medical services were called.
But Loomis questioned the safety of the structure, which, he said looked uncared for.
Loomis' concerns were echoed by the county's department of environmental management, which visited the site after the collapse. The inspector, Thomas Hogan, noted that much of the debris had been cleared away. From the remainder, Hogan wrote in a Feb. 11 letter to Huntley that "the deck/dock structure did not meet the minimum construction requirements ... and no permit could be found for this structure."
Hogan cautioned Huntley that he should not "reinstall any portion of the structure as it would require county permitting."
Any plans for a new deck will have to be submitted to the county, Hogan said, and must be cleared by an engineer to make sure the construction "meets or exceeds" county requirements.
Hogan said he plans to reinspect the property this week to make sure the remainder of the deck is gone and that no rebuilding has occurred.
Contact staff writer Anne Lindberg at (727) 893-8450 or email@example.com.