Home Preparedness 6 Fire Ball Rides In California Closed After Ohio Fair Tragedy

6 Fire Ball Rides In California Closed After Ohio Fair Tragedy


A deadly malfunction on the Fire Ball carnival ride at the Ohio State Fair has prompted safety regulators to close six similar rides around California -- including one in the Bay Area and another at the popular Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

California's division of Occupational Safety and Health asked owners to close the thrill rides until they hear from the manufacturer, KMG, and inspectors can deem whether they are safe.

The manufacturer, meanwhile, has ordered all of its Fire Ball rides, which it also calls the Afterburner, to be closed down around the world "until further notice."

"Our deepest sympathies go out to all who were involved or affected by this tragic accident," officials with KMG said in a statement.

At the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, operators closed their Fire Ball ride on Wednesday night after officials there saw cell phone footage of the harrowing failure on the opening day of the Ohio State Fair in Columbus.

"About an hour after seeing what happened in Ohio, we decided to close the ride out of an abundance of caution," Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk spokesman Kris Reyes said. "As of today (Thursday) it remains closed until further instruction from the state."

Reyes said mechanics inspect every ride at the Santa Cruz boardwalk daily, and state regulators do yearly inspections as well.

"We are very confident in the safety of our rides," he said.

There was no indication of any problems with the Fire Ball ride in Santa Cruz.

Operators shut down similar rides at California's Great America in Santa Clara and at the Cal Expo State Fair in Sacramento.

Rides in Southern California were also closed, pending notification from Cal/OSHA, including ones at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park (Orange County) and at Belmont Park in San Diego.

The rides at the Orange County Fair and Cal Expo are both portable, while the other four are permanent.

Video of the Ohio accident shot by a bystander shows part of the attraction snapping off Wednesday evening as it pitched downward in a pendulum-like motion, launching riders onto the pavement below.

One person died and at least seven other people were injured -- two critically.

Investigators in Ohio continued working to figure out what caused the ride there to malfunction. Ohio Gov. John Kasich ordered all rides at the fair shut down as the state investigates the incident.

The Fire Ball in Ohio was operated by Amusements of America and debuted in 2002, becoming one if its "most popular thrill rides," according to the company's website.

Riders attached by harnesses are spun at 13 revolutions a minute as they swing up to 40 feet in the air at the end of a long mechanical arm.

Officials with Amusements of America did not immediately comment on the accident.

This article is written by Evan Sernoffsky from San Francisco Chronicle and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Glynn Cosker Glynn Cosker is the Managing Editor of EDM Digest. Glynn has more than 20 years of writing experience, and he’s the Managing Editor of EDM Digest's sister blog site: In Homeland Security. Born and raised in the U.K., he began his career in government and spent 12 years working in the Consular Section of the British Embassy in Washington – attaining the rank of Vice Consul in the late 1990s. Glynn and his family live in New England.