Inspector General report sparks change with State Fire Marshal
BATON ROUGE- A report by the Inspector General's Office highlights some inefficiencies with the way the State Fire Marshal's Office handles carnival ride inspections and investigations.
The report focuses on an accident at a Greensburg fair in 2011 where two teens were injured on the "Zipper" ride.
The report showed that the inspector missed a key element, that had he seen it, may have prevented the accident. The State Fire Marshal's office says the accident was due to operator error.
"The inspector failed to detect that a parking brake was missing or had been removed from the ride and that there were retrofitted switches that really made the ride more dangerous to operate, our overriding concern is to see that those concerns are addressed so that the public can have confidence in the safety of these rides," said Inspector General Stephen Street.
State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says his office has already made changes to help inspectors.
"We recently adopted a checklist that the ride operator must complete every time they set that ride up confirming to us that they have not made any modifications to the ride, we think it's just an extra layer of control in this process," said Browning.
Street says the Fire Marshal should also separate the inspections and investigations.
"It's a natural conflict when you have the person who did the set-up inspection or safety inspection and then after an accident occurs, is also tasked with doing an investigation, there's just a natural conflict there," said Street.
Browning says including State Police and other law enforcement agencies in the investigations eliminates any conflict of interest.