Alton Flea Market Blaze Ruled Undetermined
ALTON – The city of Alton is holding vendors at a local flea market accountable after a blaze left several buildings damaged.
The fire happened early November at Ochoa’s Flea Market located on Conway and Mile 4 Road. The Alton Fire Department ruled the blaze as undetermined.
City officials said vendors will now have to pay for yearly permits and bring their establishments up to code. Assistant Alton City Manager Jeff Underwood said they are adding fresh paint and new roofing in some of the units.
“Since the fire happened, we’ve had a good dialogue with the owners out there and the vendors. And they’re all coming in to get their vendor permits,” he said. “What that kicks off is the inspections by the building inspector, and the inspections by the fire department, if necessary.”
Underwood said each vendor will have to obtain a $25 permit. Additional costs include a $90 inspection and paying for necessary structural repairs needed on their units.
“We need to make sure it’s up to code, the structure is up to code. Depending on what they’re selling, the fire department may have to get involved to make sure that whatever they’re selling is not combustible. If it is, that it is contained properly.”
The assistant city manager said the flea market opened around a week after the fire. He said food vendors now have a little more work to do.
“The restaurants are certainly more intensive with the inspections. Again you have the building aspect, looking at electrical, you have them looking at the plumbing aspects,” Underwood said. “Once we’re done, we send them over to the county health department because that’s a whole other aspect.”
CHANNEL 5 NEWS also spoke to a few vendors at the flea market. No one agreed to an on-camera interview for fear of retaliation.
However, a food vendor said they have been shut down for more than a month.
“We’ve spoken to some of the vendors because they have concerns over some of these fixes. These repairs are quite costly,” Underwood said.
Underwood added the changes won’t happen overnight but they are already seeing results. He said the safety of their community is what’s most important.
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