Following other fair incidents, NC fair inspectors add another item to check

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina State Fair opens on Thursday and, as they do every year, crews are at the fairgrounds making sure the rides are in good shape.

But, this year is different.

In July, an 18-year-old man was killed in an accident at the Ohio State Fair.

There also was a close call in Greensboro in September at the Central Carolina Fair when a worker fell from a ferris wheel while trying to repair it. Then, on Friday night, a young girl went to the hospital after falling from a Ferris Wheel in Virginia.

This year, inspectors with the North Carolina Department of Labor are checking one additional thing when they look at the rides.

“We instituted a new requirement that all those components on the adult rides have to be checked with a non-destructive test,” said Cherie Berry, Labor Commissioner.

A check for corrosion. Investigators determined that’s what caused the accident at the Ohio State Fair, corrosion on a support beam.

“So we started immediately to try to figure out what we can do in North Carolina to try to prevent that from happening here,” said Berry.

Berry said that inspectors specifically are checking “inside the steel tubes that are closed on the ends that you can’t normally see inside of. So, we had that tested this year on all the rides that are operating in North Carolina that are the adult rides.”

Berry said the adult rides are the ones that might have the component that failed in Ohio.

“They (inspectors) will not certify that ride to operate in our state unless they would feel comfortable putting their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren on those rides,” said Berry.
Berry said the state did not need to add additional inspectors, but said the new tests put the burden on the ride owners to make sure the rides are safe.

There remains a temporary ban on the KMG Fireball, the ride in the Ohio incident, in North Carolina.


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