Operator of Western Idaho Fair rides fined in California

Statesman staffApril 25, 2014 

The longtime operator of rides in the midway at the Western Idaho Fair has been fined by California for safety violations at a Fresno fair.

Butler Amusements Inc. was fined $101,250 by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. The agency says an investigation found that the temporary amusement ride operator knowingly conducted rides after key bolts and cross bracing had been removed.

The compromised rides included the Giant Wheel and Flying Bobs rides at the Big Fresno Fair last October.

The agency sent an inspector after receiving a confidential tip about safety concerns at one of the rides owned by the Beaverton, Ore. company. The investigator saw several patrons on the compromised attractions, including a local news crew and fair mascot on the Giant Wheel ride.

The Giant Wheel was missing all the 12 bolts associated with the support leg flanges, and the Flying Bobs was missing all of the lower cross bracing used for structural support, the agency said. When the imminent hazard was brought to the attention of a representative accompanying the investigator, Butler Amusements voluntarily stopped the rides and the patrons disembarked with no injuries.

“Thankfully these violations were found before anyone was hurt,” said acting agency Chief Juliann Sum.

Western Idaho Fair spokesman Bob Batista told Boise's KBOI-TV (Channel 2)that the company has always had an excellent safety record and has complied with all safety regulations and inspection laws that are required by the state.

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