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Arapahoe County Fair Shuts Down Ride After Deadly Accident In Ohio

By Andrea Flores

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Hours before the gates opened at the Arapahoe County Fair, amusement rides and attractions were already up and running. All would be open to fair-goers except for one.

One group of boys from Bennett High School says they look forward to the fair all year long.

“We ride rides and hang out,” said Jordan Despues.

freakout ride at arapco fair Arapahoe County Fair Shuts Down Ride After Deadly Accident In Ohio

Freak Out ride at the Arapahoe County Fair (credit: CBS)

But they say a deadly malfunction, like the one that happened on the Fire Ball ride at the Ohio State Fair, concerns them.

“It’s kind of scary, but you don’t want to think about when you’re riding rides because you hope the people that are running it will protect you,” said Kollin Petre.

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CBS4’s Andrea Flores interviews a group of boys from Bennett High School(credit: CBS)

Arapahoe County’s Don Klemme says Freak Out, a ride on the fairgrounds, runs similar in motion to the Fire Ball ride in Ohio.

Out of respect for the victims of the deadly accident, Arapahoe County is removing the Freak Out ride from the fair.

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(credit: CBS)

Arapahoe County Fair released this statement to CBS4: “Out of respect for what has happened the ride will not operate tonight and will be removed tomorrow morning. With that said, safety is paramount and our carnival vendor feels the same as the state regarding no filming to ensure that there are no distractions during safety checks.”

However, Colorado State inspector David Knight tells CBS4 all rides at the Arapahoe County Fair were given the green light to operate.

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(credit: CBS)

“As the rides are being erected, the amusement vendor has their own inspectors that keep tabs on the amusement rides to make sure that they are properly constructed and safe,” Klemme said. “They work on an annual basis with an independent inspector that’s provided by their insurance company, and they do an analysis, and they give them a certification that’s provided to state of Colorado.”

Investigators worked to find out what caused the opening-day wreck at the Ohio State Fair that killed a high school student who had just enlisted in the Marines. Seven other people were injured, including four teenagers.

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The Fire Ball ride at the Ohio State Fair (credit: CBS)

Arapahoe County officials say the rides, rented from Texas based Crabtree Amusements, are reviewed daily by a state inspector. The ride being pulled, dubbed The Freak Out, is going out of service because the county says it’s “in good taste”.

“One of the comments made by the state inspector is that the operator went beyond what’s necessary from a safety standpoint,“ says Shannon Carter, the Arapahoe County Open Space Director.

Carter says thrill seeking attractions are vital to keeping the fair fiscally solvent.

“A lot of the activities and a lot of the things you see going on is funded by the carnival,” says Carter.

With safety measures in place, kids tell CBS4 they won’t let one accident ruin their summer.

“I try not to think of [the accident] because it makes me not want to do [get on the ride] more, but I do it anyway,” Despues said.

In addition to inspections, Arapahoe County says law enforcement officers, paramedics, and fire crews will remain on the fairgrounds over the weekend.

Andrea Flores is a reporter for CBS4. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @AndreaFloresTV.

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