Papers reveal Fireball ride passed 37 inspection checks

(WDTN Photo/ Dana Smith)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Netherlands-based manufacturer of the Fire Ball ride that malfunctioned on the opening day of the Ohio State Fair says “excessive corrosion” caused the arm of the ride to break off, killing one and injuring several others.

Sunday was the last day of the fair, rides are making their way off fairgrounds, but the Fire Ball ride still remains on site as it is evidence in the ongoing investigation.

The Ohio Highway Patrol is leading this investigation.

NBC 4 pressed investigators for answers on where the department stands in its investigation. A spokesperson for the patrol said they investigation is ongoing and they are not ready to release their findings.

18-year-old, Tyler Jarrell was killed and seven others were injured, some still remain in critical condition.

Albert Kroon, Product Manager for the amusement ride manufacturing company, KMG International said in a statement after inspecting the 18-year-old ride saying, “Excessive corrosion on the interior of the gondola support beam dangerously reduced the beam’s wall thickness over the year… Led to the catastrophic failure of the ride during operation.”

“We look at them as they go up. We look at them when they are up,” Michael Vartorella, Chief Inspector of the Department of Agriculture.

Back on July 26th, Vartorella said to reporters, the Fire Ball ride was inspected three or four times before the start of the fair.

According to these inspection papers, the Fire Ball passed all 37 inspection check notes, including “visible free of cracks or excessive wear.”

A third party visible inspection done by Soil Consultants Inc, based out of South Carolina, found no defects.

Could the deadly accident at the Ohio State Fair have been prevented? The maker of the ride blames, “excessive corrosion” for why the ride fell apart. So, how did the problem go unnoticed?

“But it passed inspection the same day. How was that possible?” wrote a woman on Twitter.

Assistant Professor of Engineering at Otterbein University Michael Hudoba said there are several ways you can test for corrosion in metals.

“The fact that is was excessive corrosion is a little bit of a surprise because the term excessive makes you think that’s something you would have been able to pick up.”

Twitter user @LillyMinietta hopes something is done in the meantime to protect other riders. “The only way things will change is when the laws change. Then and only then, I’m afraid.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture says the state will not make any changes to its ride inspection until the highway patrol completes its investigation.

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