'Fireball' ride in Ohio tragedy passed SC inspections in April

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - The Ohio State Fair ride that malfunctioned last night, killing one person and injuring seven others, operated at events in South Carolina as recently as April of this year.

The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation confirmed Amusements of America, based in New Jersey, applied for permits for 21 rides to be operated at the Florence Civic Center from April 6 to April 9. Those were the dates of the Pee Dee Spring Carnival.

Those permits included one for the Fireball, the ride involved in the Ohio tragedy Wednesday night.

"Twenty of the rides passed inspection, including the Fireball (manufactured by KMG of The Netherlands). One ride failed inspection, a children's ride called the Rockin' Tug. It did not receive a permit for operation at the Florence event," LLR Communications Director and Ombudsman Lesia Kudelka said.

South Carolina law requires an annual inspection of all amusement rides before they may operate in the state, Kudelka said. "Rides are inspected by a Special Inspector with LLR certified by the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials. In addition, LLR conducts random audits of the Special Inspectors' inspections of rides to assure all defects and non-compliant items are identified and are corrected by the ride owner.  No permit authorizing operation of an amusement ride is issued by the Department until all violations identified are corrected."

An LLR auditor also performed 10 special inspector audits, including the Fireball, at the Pee Dee Spring Carnival; all of the rides passed the audits.

Closer to Charleston, the Coastal Carolina Fair describes a Midway ride called the Fireball on its website, including links to videos branded with Amusements of America's logo.

"The FireBall combines swinging and spinning action all in one ride! Since it's debut in 2002, the FireBall has become one of the most popular thrill rides on the AOA Midway," the description states. "The FireBall swings riders 40' above the midway while spinning them at 13 revolutions per minute!"

The website lists a 48" minimum height requirement for Fireball.

The Exchange Club Fair of Charleston has not yet released information about the Fireball ride and its plans for fair safety this year in the aftermath of the Ohio incident.

LLR permitted a total of 647 amusement rides for operation in 2016.

"Strates Shows, based in Orlando, Florida, also owns a ride called the Fireball, manufactured by KMG," Kudelka said in a statement. "Strates' Fireball ride was inspected at Myrtle Beach Speedway by a Special Inspector on April 6, and passed inspection. The ride inspection was audited by an LLR auditor the same day and passed the audit."

It appears this is not the same ride involved in the Ohio accident because it is owned by a different company.

The public may view a copy of the South Carolina Amusement Ride Code and related regulations on the Department of LLR's web site at

Click here to access inspection results and dates.

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