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Wichita inflatables business to stay open, seek appeal

A local inflatable amusement facility plans to appeal a cease-and-desist order that alleges its rides were not inspected properly.

Pure Entertainment, a facility near Kellogg and Tyler where a 5-year-old boy fell March 22 and later died, will remain open during the appeals process, Tom Stolz, Wichita deputy police chief, said Monday.

The owner of the business, meanwhile, said rides at the facility have been inspected by an independent, nationally certified inspector and have been deemed safe.

"This puts us into compliance," said Duane Zogleman, owner of Moonwalks For Fun Inc., which holds licenses for equipment at Pure Entertainment.

"These units are safe, they're certified, and I fully intend to have all of my units inspected by an outside inspector."

Before Friday, inspection certificates for 40 rides owned by Moonwalks For Fun had been submitted by Jesse Zogleman, Duane Zogleman's son, who manages Pure Entertainment.

Police said Jesse Zogleman was not certified to inspect portable amusement rides, as required by city ordinance. On Thursday, police ordered the business to have inflatable rides cleared from its building within five days.

Duane Zogleman said Monday that he didn't know his son's certification through the Amusement Industry Manufacturers & Suppliers was not current. Police said Jesse Zogleman's certification expired in 2008.

"I was not aware that Jesse's certificate had lapsed," Duane Zogleman said. "And had I known, I really would have kicked his...

"That's something that we could have taken care of and eliminated this... problem," he said. "I've been doing this for over 35 years, and safety is paramount."

Pure Entertainment was closed Friday and Sunday but reopened Monday.

Brent Ottaway, a Derby inspector certified by the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials, said he inspected 15 inflatable units at Pure Entertainment on Thursday and six more on Saturday.

All passed inspection, Ottaway said, including King of the Mountain, the inflatable involved in the March 22 incident. Records show that Ottaway's "Level II (Advanced)" certification from NAARSO expires March 31, 2012.

Five-year-old Matthew Branham died after falling from an inflatable and striking his head on a concrete floor. Police said the child and several older family members were on the ride when the fall occurred.

Duane Zogleman has said the child's fall was the result of customers misusing the equipment.

Ottaway, the inspector, said Monday that he suggests putting cushioned mats around the entire perimeter of the King of the Mountain ride. A 2-foot-tall inflatable barrier surrounds the ride, which is designed like a large inflatable mattress, so "there really is no entrance or exit," Ottaway said. "You can climb into it."

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating circumstances surrounding Matthew's death, including any safety concerns with the ride itself. In December 2007, a 3-year-old Washington boy died when two men playing on a similarly designed King of the Hill unit fell off and landed on the boy, who was standing nearby.

Mark Schoenhofer, an attorney representing Duane Zogleman, said Monday that the city's revocation of Pure Entertainment's license last week "has nothing to do with" the March 22 incident.

"There is and has been absolutely no link between the inspection or lack of inspection and the unfortunate death of this child," Schoenhofer said.

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