COLUMBIA, SC (WLTX) - The South Carolina State Fair is less than three months away. However, Wednesday night’s fatal accident at the Ohio State Fair has ride safety on people’s minds.
The company who provides the rides at our state fair is North American Midway Entertainment (NAME). Last year, NAME contracted another group, Amusements of America (AMA), to provide some of those rides.
AMA is providing rides at the Ohio state fair, including the “Fire Ball” ride that malfunctioned, causing the death of an 18-year-old man and injuring seven other people.
"We are always concerned about the safety of our rides,” says Gary Goodman, general manager for the SC State Fair.
Goodman says he’s looking forward to this year’s main event, but says ride safety is always on his mind.
"We do not only what is required by the state with regards to inspection, which state inspectors come in here, we also hire a private inspection company to do a second inspection when they're here,” says Goodman.
He also pointed out that rides are inspected on a daily basis, just to make sure there are no problems.
"We're gonna err on the side of safety,” he says.
AMA provided several rides here in Columbia last year, and up until two years ago, the Sumter county fair used them for 60 years.
"Last year was the first year that North American Midway, due to adding some additional fairs to their route, asked if they could supplement some rides here,” says Goodman. “The ride that happened there [in Ohio] was not here at our fair."
Goodman says he's unsure if NAME will use rides from Amusements of America this year.
"Based on everything we've seen so far, there was a major failure in the superstructure of that ride,” says Goodman. “It wasn't like there was a latch left open or something like that. So, it's going to have to take some real examination before they know exactly what caused that ride to do that."
"It's a tragedy and we're all sickened by it. The last thing that we would want here is for anything like that to happen to anybody who comes to the fair."
We reached out to the South Carolina Department of Labor Licensing Regulation (LLR) about Amusements of America's recent history here in the state, as they do have a shop in Florence, SC.
LLR Released this statement:
Amusements of America, based in Tennent, New Jersey, applied for permits for 21 rides to be operated at the Florence Civic Center from April 6, 2017 to April 9, 2017. A Special Inspector conducted inspections of the 21 rides, and 20 of the rides passed inspection, including the Fireball (manufactured by KMG of The Netherlands). One ride failed inspection, a children’s ride called the Rockin’ Tug. It did not receive a permit for operation at the Florence event. In addition, an LLR auditor performed audits of 10 of the Special Inspector’s inspections, including the Fireball. All of the rides audited by the LLR auditor passed the audit.
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