JAMESTOWN (WATE) – Carnival rides are waiting to be assembled at the Fentress County Fairgrounds, but the company and fair board members are waiting on a go-ahead from the state.
Family Attractions Amusement owns the rides and was involved in a tragic Ferris wheel accident earlier this week in Greene County. Three little girls fell 40 feet while the ride was moving and had to be rushed to the hospital. The youngest victim, a 6 year old, is suffering from a traumatic brain injury.
The Fentress County Fair is set to open on Monday, but board members say they’re working harder to make sure the rides are safe, if they are allowed to operate, because safety is their number one concern.
“I really don’t know how to feel about it. I don’t think it would be safe for people to ride on. I mean, I know we’re not getting the Ferris wheel. I just don’t know,” said Jaren Stephens of Jamestown.
“It’s really sad that it happened. It could’ve happened anywhere,” added Tamra Slaven of Jamestown.
Much is unknown right now. Fentress County fair board members say it’s too soon to tell if once the rides are put together, if they’ll need to be inspected again.
“One part of me thinks, ‘Well they did the extra checking it, maybe it’s okay.’ But another part of me thinks, Why take a chance?'” said Lisa Jackson of Jamestown.
“Just because you’re inspected doesn’t mean a whole lot of anything. You can be inspected and accidents, what you want to call it, can happen,” said Stephens.
The fair has done business with Family Attractions for more than 20 years. The latest contract is said to have two to three years left and board members say there has never been a problem.
“It just is so nerve wracking to let a child on a ride after something like that has happened that I’ll probably be too nervous,” said Jackson.
“I really don’t trust anything I can’t control, and I can’t control that ride,” added Slaven.
The Ferris wheel will not be at the Fentress County Fair. The Department of Workforce and Labor has not yet said whether Family Attractions will be able to operate their rides.