Hope Mattson, 4, rides the "Frog Hopper" with her cousin Savannah Meeler (9) at the Gwinnett County Fair in Lawrenceville in this AJC file phot0.
Photo: Phil SkinnerAJC
Photo: Phil SkinnerAJC

Gwinnett fair using ride company involved in deadly Ohio incident

The rides at the Gwinnett County Fair will be provided by the same company whose “Fire Ball” attraction malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair, killing an 18-year-old man.

Dale Thurman, the Gwinnett County Fair’s manager, said he’s confident that safety procedures will protect fairgoers. The fair has contracted with Amusements of America, a New Jersey carnival ride company, for 20 years without incident, Thurman said.

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“They have a great safety record with us,” Thurman said.

Amusements of America said in a statement that it believes it was mechanical failure, not operator error, that caused multiple people to be thrown from the ride in Columbus, Ohio, on July 26. The company that manufactures the “Fire Ball” has ordered all of those rides to be shut down until further notice.

The Gwinnett County Fair goes beyond state standards to ensure each ride on the grounds is inspected before the gates open, Thurman said. The fair has state inspectors come out to inspect each ride, even if it has already had its required once-yearly inspection in Georgia.

“We’re not in the business of hurting people,” Thurman said. “We’re in the business of showing people a good time.”

The Gwinnett County Fair will be held from Sept. 14 to Sept. 24 this year at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds. Find more information, including a safety guide, at their website.

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