Inspectors examining Kentucky State Fair midway rides with Ohio - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Inspectors examining Kentucky State Fair midway rides with Ohio tragedy in mind

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Inspectors at the Kentucky State Fair are working to ensure there is no repeat of last month's deadly amusement ride accident in Ohio.

One person was killed and seven others hurt when a ride collapsed at the Ohio State Fair.

"Of course we have that in the back of our mind," said John Cook, of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, which is in charge of inspecting amusement rides.

State inspectors say they are really doing nothing differently, and giving every ride the usual top-to-bottom inspection.

"We check everything on the ride, from the seat belts all the way to the computer systems," said chief inspector Chad Halsey.

But they also know that excessive corrosion may have been what caused the Fire Ball ride to collapse in Ohio.

"We are looking for corrosion and cracks. If we see some corrosion, we're making sure it's surface rust and not internal," said Halsey.

The state has nine full-time ride inspectors, and they are all working the state fair.

"We have an amusement ride branch that is solely for the purpose of inspecting amusement rides," said Cook. 

As WDRB watched, one ride, the Cliff Hanger, was flagged for a having a broken seat. Inspectors ordered the seat to be replaced, and will come back later to make sure it's done.

"I've got kids myself, and I'm not going to put my kids on something that your kids won't get on. That's how we look at it," said Halsey.

The inspectors will check all 50 midway rides, including the kids section.

One ride inspectors do not have to worry about is the Fire Ball, the ride that failed at Ohio State Fair. North American Midway has pulled it, even though it was not the company that was operating the ride in Ohio.

"We have three of those rides, and we've taken all three of them, and we've parked them at our main facility in Indiana," said North American Midway Entertainment Chairman Jeffrey Blomsness.

An inspection team will be on hand throughout the Fair's run making sure the rides and the ride operators are working properly.

"How they're loading people, making sure the ride comes to a complete stop before they get people off, just little things like that that can cause an accident," said Cook.

The midway opens for business on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. You can see the entire Kentucky State Fair schedule here.

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