In response to a fatal accident at the Ohio State Fair involving a ride named Fireball, Tennessee officials today banned such rides from operating in the state.
Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips issued an order prohibiting all Fireball amusement devices manufactured by KMG International BV from operating within the state. This is the device involved in an accident on Wednesday evening, July 27, 2017, at the Ohio State Fair that killed one person and injured seven others. This order will remain in effect until further notice.
The ride accident occurred on opening night of the fair. According to Michael Vartorella, chief ride inspector for Ohio’s Division of Amusement Ride Safety, the ride passed its inspection on Wednesday. The accident remains under investigation and all other fair rides were closed pending re-inspection.
“After much consideration and thought, and with the safety of Tennesseans and visitors to our great state in mind, I have decided the Fireball amusement device should not operate here,” Commissioner Phillips explained. All amusement devices entering Tennessee are required to be inspected and/or re-inspected as public safety requires.
Similar decisions were made in California, Indiana, and Kentucky to prohibit the Fireball device from operating at fairs in those states.
A fair goer captured the horrific Fireball accident and ensuing chaos on video. As the Fire Ball’s giant arm swung six spinning gondolas like a pendulum, a metal bang could be heard as it traveled over the ride base. One of those gondolas broke off and crashed. Two riders were ejected, flew into the air and then fell to the pavement below. The video is too graphic to share and out of respect for the victims we will not do so here.
Ohio State Highway Patrol said 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell, of Columbus, Ohio, died at the scene. The following persons were transported to area hospitals:
- Tamika Dunlap, 36, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio
- Russell Franks, 42, of Columbus, Ohio
- Keziah Lewis, 19, of Columbus, Ohio
- Jacob Andrews, 22, of Pataskala, Ohio
- Jennifer Lambert, 18, of Columbus, Ohio
- Abdihakim Hussein, 19, of Columbus, Ohio
- A 14 year-old male whose name is being withheld at the request of the family
“Each and every day, safety is our top priority,” Commissioner Phillips said. “I prefer to err on the side of caution in this case and eliminate the possibility of any further accidents with this particular device.”
A similar Fireball ride operating in 2007.
The Fireball ride involved in the accident was operated by Amusements of America and manufactured by KMG International BV. On Thursday afternoon, KMG released a statement instructing operators of the Fireball, also known as Afterburner, and Move-It series rides to cease operations.
North American Midway Entertainment currently has a permit to operate the Fireball at the Tennessee State Fair in Nashville. The state’s Amusement Device Unit said it is notifying the operator they will not be able to bring that device to the fair in September.
Photo: Amusements of America/Facebook