NJ fair shuts down ride similar to Fire Ball

TRENTON (WPVI) -- When ride operators at the Monmouth County Fair in Freehold learned about the horrific accident in Ohio, officials at Reithoffer Shows sent word to shut down a similar ride at the fair.

It's called the Wild Claw, but it's very similar to the Fire Ball ride that came apart Wednesday night.

"They made the decision to immediately take the ride out of service, which they did sometime around 9:30 last evening," Andrew Spears of Monmouth Co. Parks said.

The Wild Claw or Fire Ball is a popular ride that swings and spins up to 40 feet in the air. There are believed to be about four of these rides in locations around New Jersey and, like the one at the Monmouth County Fair, they've been temporarily closed.

"The New Jersey State Inspectors came this morning to officially put the ride out of service and at this point, it'll remain out of service until further recommendations from the state inspectors," fair chairman Matt Coleman said.

Amusements of America, the company that provided the Fire Ball Ride to the Ohio State Fair, has an office in Manalapan, New Jersey.

When asked for a comment, a man replied, "We don't know anything. We are here, they are in Ohio."

A spokesman for the New Jersey Amusement Association called the Ohio accident a sad situation, adding, "We're confident New Jersey has one of the best systems of ride inspection in the country. When these incidents happened it affects the entire industry."

At carnivals, fairs and amusement parks in New Jersey, every ride is inspected by the Department of Community Affairs.

People think in light of what happened in Ohio, shutting similar rides down here makes sense.

"I don't know if it's a problem inherent in the ride or if it's really that they weren't put together correctly. You think about all the pieces that have to work right," Regina Hunter of Robbinsville, NJ said.

"If one malfunctioned I would definitely want the others checked out. They should be closed until they are checked out," Debbie Hill of Chesterfield, NJ said.

It appears the same exact ride in the Ohio accident was used in a carnival in North Jersey earlier this month, but no problems were reported.
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