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"Worst Tragedy In The History Of The Fair" Leaves One Dead, Seven Injured

Karen Kasler
The Midway at the Ohio State Fair, where the Fireball ride (not pictured) is located.

Gov. John Kasich calls it the worst tragedy in the history of the Ohio State Fair. One person was killed and seven were injured, three of them critically, in a catastrophic ride malfunction on the first night of the fair.

All rides were shut down shortly after 7:20, after a malfunction on the Fireball, which spins and swings riders 40 feet into the air. A Columbus fire battalion chief said a row of seats snapped off.  The ride had been inspected by the four person inspection team, led by Michael Vartorella. “We take this job very serious, and when we have a tragedy like this, it hits everybody, it hits us really hard.”

Rain had delayed some inspections, and 11 of the more than 70 rides weren’t operating when the fair opened Wednesday. The fair will be open but Gov. John Kasich ordered all rides closed pending reinspection. The state highway patrol is investigating.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at