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Mobile home park's cleanup ordered

The cleanup of Edgewood Park began Friday, a day after city and county officials raided the mobile home park, and fines soon will be piling up for the owner.

There could be more than a dozen fines of $500 each for every city citation soon to be issued for the host of violations discovered Thursday, when officials declared eight homes uninhabitable.

Zephyrhills building, fire and police officials, the Pasco County Health Department and various utilities descended on the park after police responding to calls there told of horrendous living conditions.

They found the mobile home and RV residents living with raw sewage on the ground, exposed electrical wiring, holes in ceilings and walls and no working smoke detector in any of the three dozen units.

The sewage and faulty electrical systems were dangers that officials said must be addressed immediately.

"(The owner) is going to face some fines," city building official Bill Burgess said. "The reason why we're going through the code enforcement process is because we want the immediate hazards taken care of right away, and the only way to do that is to start hitting them where it hurts, basically."

Those fines will be issued next week, he said.

Workers started fixing the park's sewage problem Friday, health department officials said. The recent cold snap led to broken pipes and raw sewage leaking under some homes. The owner started the cleanup within the required 24 hours, and the next inspection is March 3.

The park's owner is Pasco Rentals Inc., an Orlando corporation headed by William Oleyar, who could not be reached for comment Friday. But he was in touch with code enforcement officer Gene Brown a day after the raid.

"He seemed to be very cooperative," Brown said. "He said a lot of the maintenance got out of his reach. He wasn't aware that it was getting as bad as it was. He was concerned in which direction we were going, and I told him we weren't looking for blood, we were looking for compliance.

"We're going to work on getting the place up to minimum standards."

The city also tried to fix the most immediate life-threatening danger: an unsecured electrical box outside an occupied dwelling.

"If a kid had lifted a lid and stuck their finger in," Brown said, "they could have been energized. So we secured it as best we could."

The Zephyrhills Fire Department handed out new smoke detectors to residents Thursday, and the Zephyrhills Police Department said Friday it will continue stepped-up patrols in the area, where reports of violence and drug activity have soared.

Brown described his conversation with the owner as "very civil." The owner also shared one more thing: the property soon could be sold.