Iowa carnival safety looked at following deadly accident - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa carnival safety looked at following deadly accident

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DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -

Fairs in Eastern Iowa are responding after a deadly amusement ride accident in another state turned deadly Wednesday night. 

An 18-year-old died and seven others were hurt at the Ohio State Fair when a swinging ride named the Fire Ball broke apart in mid-air.  Less than 24-hours later, hundreds of people in Iowa hopped on carnival rides at local county fairs.

The Dubuque County Fair is one of the several fairs with carnivals in the area being extra cautious. 

"My heart goes out to the families, the friends, the carnival, and the fair. It is just heart-breaking. As a general fair manager, my main task is to make sure people have fun, and they are safe while they are doing it," said Dubuque County Fairgrounds General Manager, Kevin Kotz.

North American Midway Entertainment has provided the rides at the Dubuque County Fair for decades. They are not associated with the carnival at the Ohio State Fair.

After the news of the accident, the fair has double and triple-checked the rides' inspections.  North American's rides were inspected by a state inspector on Tuesday, before opening day. Every outdoor amusement company that brings equipment into the state is required to have state inspections before operating.

Ohio officials are saying the Fireball was inspected by the state in the days leading up to the accident.  North American says they also conduct their own inspections.

"Every day before we open, we have supervisors on each ride that inspect the ride. They have a check-off list to follow," said Pat Repp, North American Midway Entertainment General Manager.

As a precaution, the company has taken any of the rides made by the same manufacturer as the Fire Ball out of use. However, the rides in question were never scheduled to be at the Dubuque County Fair.

"We have put a halt to all of those rides in our company right now, until we get clearance from the manufacturer," said Repp.

In the meantime, the general managers are making sure every ride is providing nothing but pure enjoyment. 

"I am a new grandfather, and I would definitely have my grandson on these rides," said Kotz.

KWWL also reached out to Bremer, Fayette, and Johnson County fairs, which are currently underway and also have carnival rides.  Both Bremer and Johnson County Fair Board members said they were being extra cautious, but did not plan to close any rides.  Fayette County has not gotten back to KWWL at this time.

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