Missouri State Fair discusses ride safety in wake of deadly Ohio accident

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SEDALIA, Mo. -- A lot of families also look forward to all the fun fair rides.  But after a deadly ride accident at the Ohio State Fair this summer, some have questioned just how safe the attractions are.  It turns out the state is taking that issue more seriously now than ever.

There’s loud music and plenty of screaming at the state fair carnival.  The rides are a favorite attraction for Shelly Schwebach and her two sons.

“I love rides.  It’s always something I did as a kid when I came to the fair,” said Schwebach.

But she admits, images from July 26th are tough to watch.  That’s the day a ride called the Fireball came apart due to corrosion at the Ohio State Fair in mid-air, sending riders flying.  One person was killed and several others were hurt.

The federal government estimates over 30,000 people get hurt on amusement rides every year.  But Schwebach thinks fair operators are doing what they can to keep things safe.

“I’m sure they check everything before they start it up,” she said.

The Missouri State Fair says carnival operator Wade Shows actually pulled a ride similar to the one that failed in Ohio from this year’s line-up in Sedalia.  The state inspected every single one of the rides as they were set up for the State Fair, and the Missouri Fire Marshal’s office has inspectors on site that look over the rides before they open each day.

Ramping up the safety even further, Missouri has a unique all-volunteer fire station that runs on site all 11 days of the fair.

“We do fire, EMS, rescue during the fair only.  We have volunteers from across the state of Missouri.  Our equipment is all donated.  Our personnel all donate their time.  So that’s a pretty big deal to get staff, averaging 75 people a day,” said Larry Eggen, public information officer for the Missouri State Fair Fire & Rescue Command.

That puts first responders within seconds of arriving anywhere on the fairgrounds if anything happens to any of the 350,000 visitors expected during the event. Of course organizers are hoping for a safe and successful fair.

You can enjoy all the fun the fair has to offer now through August 20th in Sedalia.