Permit Never Issued For Pool Where Child Drowned

The investigation into the drowning death of a 20 month-old girl continues.  Ariana Montserrat Tejada was found unresponsive in a swimming pool behind a home in the 900 block of Lee Road near Clayton Sunday night.

Ariana MontserratThe Johnston County Sheriff’s Office said Ariana and her mother were visiting friends at the home. The mother said she needed to run an errand and ask an adult at the home to look after her daughter while she was gone. A short time later, authorities said the child was found in the pool. Efforts to revive Ariana were not successful.

A spokesperson for the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office says the drowning appears to be accidental and no charges are expected.

According to the Johnston County Inspections Department, a permit had never been issued for a pool at the address. Dean Barbour, Director of the Inspections Department told WTSB News, “Any structure intended for recreational bathing containing water over 24 inches requires a permit, including above and in-ground swimming pools, hot tubs and spas.”

Barbour said if the wall of an above ground swimming pool is not 48 inches tall, the building code requires a fence and a gate around the pool.  If a pool wall is 48 inches or higher it will be considered a barrier but it must have a removable ladder when no adult is present. In either case, a permit is required from the county.

“If you don’t have a permit you are assuming a liability,” Barbour said.

The inspections department will investigate any report of a building code violation including unpermitted pools.  Barbour says one person in his office is assigned to investigate complaints. Barbour would not speculate on the safety of the pool where the drowning occurred but said his office had no record of ever issuing a permit for a pool at the address.

Funeral services for Ariana Tejada take place this Friday at 6:00pm in Clayton.