Mid-Michigan fairs focus on carnival ride safety after Ohio accident

(Source: WNEM)

A terrifying accident killed one man and injured seven others who were enjoying a ride at the Ohio State Fair.

One of the eight person seats on a ride called the Fireball became disconnected and flew off. At least two people were thrown out into the air.

All rides were shutdown after the malfunction while law enforcement and the Department of Agriculture investigated, but officials said the Fireball passed inspection.

"It's tragic and our hearts are heavy with anytime an accident like that takes place. I mean, it really hits home," said John Riley, vice president of the Tuscola County Fair Association.

Riley said the tragedy at the Ohio State Fair is truly saddening.

"You get situations like that, that just really eat away at you and no one wants to see anything like that happen," Riley said.

Doug Burtch manages the company that provides rides for the Tuscola County Fair, T.J. Schmidt Carnival. He said set up is essentially the same for all traveling carnivals.

"We come into what's an empty field essentially and try to turn it into mobile Disneyland. So there's a lot of hours in terms of where each ride is going to be placed," Burtch said.

Burtch said every single ride gets inspected by the state of Michigan annually, but that doesn't mean it's done in a day. He said it typically takes a week for every ride to get its full inspection.

"We have an actual third party surprise inspection that we regulate with our insurance provider. So we don't know when that's going to happen. Ironically it happened just a few weeks ago," Burtch said.

He said all 25 rides undergo a 20 point inspection every day before use.

"Ride safety is our number one priority here," Burtch said.

Neil Jackson, president of the Tuscola County Fair Association agrees. He said there are a lot of folks dedicated to making the fair successful.

"We're excited to put on a fair. This is where over 130 years of putting on a fair. A lot of people put a lot of hard work into it," Jackson said.

The Tuscola County Fair runs through July 29.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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