Following Wednesday’s carnival ride incident at the Ohio State Fair that killed one and injured seven others, the company that provides rides for the Northwest Washington Fair, says it is doing everything it can to prevent something similar from happening in Lynden when the fair comes to town in two weeks.
“An accident like that is a huge thing to happen in our industry, and people, rightfully, are going to be nervous and have questions,” said Cathy Davis, co-owner of Davis Amusement Cascadia, which has provided rides at the Lynden fair since the mid 1980s. “We’re doing everything we can to answer those questions and make sure the communities we serve are safe.”
The tragedy in Columbus, Ohio, occurred on the Fire Ball, a pendulum-type thrill ride that swings riders 40 feet in the air and spins them at 13 revolutions per minute. Following Wednesday’s incident, the Dutch manufacturer KMG International BV instructed operators to suspend use of the ride until further notice.
Davis Amusement, which is based in Oregon, does not own the Fire Ball, but Davis said it has owned and operated a ride “that has similar action and looks similar” – the Nitro – for the past three years. Davis said the ride is not manufactured by KMG – it was built in Italy and its parts are made in the United States. Though they have not been instructed to do so, Davis said her company planned to set up the Nitro this week and have it inspected as an extra precaution.
“For our own peace of mind, we’re going to go the extra mile,” Davis said. “We’re going to go over our rides with a fine-tooth comb and do all we can. We want to be as safe as we can. We want to be able to go to sleep at night knowing we have done everything we possibly can. ... We want to do more than the manufacturer requires.”
Davis said her company has never had any problems operating the Nitro, which she noted doesn’t swing riders as high as the Fire Ball.
Davis Amusement is not the only ride operator to err on the side of caution even though it’s not using the Fire Ball. According to the Vancouver (B.C.) Sun, Playland shut down The Beast, another similar spinning pendulum ride, on Thursday for an extra inspection.
For our own peace of mind, we’re going to go the extra mile. We’re going to go over our rides with a fine-tooth comb and do all we can.
Cathy Davis, co-owner Davis Amusement Cacadia
On the company’s website, Davis Amusement states it follows “ASTM F770 Standard Practice for ownership, operation, maintenance and inspection of amusement rides and devices.” It also states its rides “are safety inspected and passed in three states. All rides receive annual safety stickers from each state. Our Director of Ride Operations holds weekly safety training meetings for ride operator and maintenance personnel. We also have several National Association of Amusement Ride Officials (NAARSO) Certified Amusement Ride Inspectors on our show at all times.”
Among the other events Davis Amusement provides rides to are the Skagit County Fair and the Stanwood-Camano Community Fair.
Davis said crews will start assembling rides in Lynden the week before the fair, which runs Aug. 14-19. In addition to the normal ride favorites, she said fair goers might want to check out the new Power Surge, a tower that raises up in the air and spins around.
“Every inch of space will be full of fun,” Davis said. “We have a lot coming to Lynden.”