Independent firm inspecting Arizona State Fair rides for safety

PHOENIX - An independent firm is tasked with inspecting and signing off on approximately 70 rides as this year's Arizona State Fair.  

"We have the complete authority at this fairgrounds to shut the ride down," said Barry Schaible, a ride inspector with Coulter Associates.  

Schaible says he and a colleague begin inspecting rides the moment they roll up to the property. Rides are looked over daily and throughout the setup process. When the fair begins, operator RCS continues daily inspections and Schaible's company performs checks at random. 

FULL GUIDE: Arizona State Fair 2017 

“People have a fear of carnival rides -- they say, because they’re set up all the time," he said. "I have a fear of amusement park rides because they’re never taken apart.” 

In July, a teenager was killed and seven people were hurt after a gondola broke off the "Fire Ball" ride at the Ohio State Fair. Investigators say corrosion led to the incident.  

"If you're only looking at [the ride] when it's done, you're not looking at it properly," Schaible said. 

The Fire Ball is not operating at the Arizona State Fair.   

Schaible said the most common way fairgoers are injured is by not following the rules. Aside from trips and falls, he said many parents assist their children -- sometimes by altering their shoes -- to meet the height requirements on rides they would otherwise be prohibited from. 

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