CLEARWATER BEACH (FOX 13) - Engineers have now identified the cause of an unexpected and disturbing shaking Saturday at Clearwater Beach's Pelican Walk shopping complex.
"The two ground floor columns supporting the exterior balcony...have failed..." an engineering report released Monday concluded, "This failure was caused by...significant corrosion."
Monday afternoon, the areas in question were exposed and the deterioration was readily apparent. Local celebrity Hulk Hogan has a beach shop on the ground floor but Saturday afternoon he was on the second floor, signing autographs for people who were lined up along the balcony.
"I went to college on the West Coast and I'm used to earthquakes," Chelsea Kolbe told FOX 13 News. She works in a salon on the second floor. "We were all like right here and literally like I lost my footing and had to grab the desk."
Dony Podrasky also works on the second floor and confirmed, "we just felt like a sudden jolt. We just felt the building suddenly move, it kind of felt like at the end of an elevator ride."
Both disputed initial reports of "hundreds" of autograph seekers jumping up and down on the balcony to get a glimpse of Hulk Hogan.
"There were not like 250 people here for Hulk Hogan, it was maybe like 50," Kolbe estimated.
Referring to the length of the line, Podrasky estimated "Could have just been a few dozen."
No one was injured in the initial incident but the entire building was evacuated as a precaution.
The shops in Pelican Walk reopened Sunday and will remain open while the faulty columns are replaced. That work is expected to be completed by the end of this week.