Cal/OSHA report cites black algae, mechanical issues at Island Waterpark

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Tuesday, July 20, 2021
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On Father's Day, Sirenio Cortez was pulled from the bottom of the wave pool by another park visitor and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new report from Cal/OSHA following a potential drowning at Island Waterpark describes findings from the state's inspector.

In it, it details mechanical issues, possible operational issues and reports of black algae in the wave pool.

Monday, Bob Martin, the general manager of the waterpark responded and said he doesn't agree with all of the findings and added this is the first time many of these issues have been brought to the park's attention.

On Father's Day, Sirenio Cortez was pulled from the bottom of the wave pool by another park visitor and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

An autopsy has been performed, but his cause of death still hasn't been released.

RELATED: Man who possibly drowned at Fresno waterpark remembered as caring father

"We don't believe anything that we did directly contributed to the unfortunate incident that happened here," said Martin.

In a report sent to the water park Friday, a Cal/OSHA inspector listed 21 requirements for the park to address.

Martin said Friday was the first time the park was alerted to many of the issues, despite previous inspections.

The report detailed damaged life rings, corroded ladders, faded and chipped paint, and as Martin agreed -- likely the most alarming -- black algae in the wave pool.

"The black algae was absolutely caused by the state not allowing us to maintain our pool like we normally do," Martin said.

Martin said after Cal/OSHA mandated the park not to touch the pool as the state was investigating, it prevented the water park from cleaning it, allowing algae to grow.

The report also said the park waited until the following day to alert Cal/OSHA about incident, even though it's required to report any death or serious injury immediately.

"We did not report it immediately. I can give you reasons for it, but that's on us for not reporting it as fast as we should have," Martin said.

He also acknowledged the park allowed the wave pool to reopen after Cortez was found. Because of that, according to Cal/OSHA, they failed to preserve the scene.

Martin said, in hindsight, they should've shut it down.

Overall, he said many of the noted corrections are minor and have already been repaired.

As for the rest, he disagrees with the state's report.

"A lot of their report is something that we're appealing because we think that it's inaccurate," said Martin.

Action News reached out to the Fresno County Public Health Department to get a copy of the inspection done prior to the Island Waterpark opening for the season.

The health department said it was checking with the environmental team for a copy of the inspection. As of this publication, we have not heard back from the health department.