ANTIQUE STEAM ENGINES Rules in place for safe displays

Three steam engines will be in operation during the show at the Canfield Fair.
CANFIELD -- Fair officials are asking steam engine owners to pay close attention to the rules of the steam engine show this year.
Jim Brown, the fair board director of the steam engine show, said he is stressing the show rules in order to prevent a fatal accident like the explosion last month at the Medina County Fair.
Five people were killed and 47 others were injured in that blast, which investigators think was caused by low water level in a tractor powered by an antique steam engine.
"We're doing everything that's necessary and taking extra precautions," to prevent an explosion in Canfield, Brown said.
Three steam engines will be running in the show at the Canfield Fair. The rules of the steam engine show state that exhibitors must be at the helm of their engine while it is running, Brown said.
That way, the operator is able to shut the engine down if a problem occurs, he said.
"They can shut it down, they don't have to get permission," Brown said.
Each engine also is inspected by a private company. Brown said the state government does not mandate inspections for antique steam engines.
Water readily available: Brown also noted that a 1,000-gallon water trailer is kept near the steam engine show, which is located in the southeast section of the fairgrounds. The trailer can be towed to a steam engine that needs water.
Exhibitors are reminded by fair staff that they need to check the water level in their engines, Brown said.
"Here, we don't have a problem with water," he said.
Medina investigation: State investigators think that a low water level in the steam engine at the Medina County Fair exposed a protective plate, which then began to heat up. Water splashed against the plate, creating a tremendous amount of steam in the tractor.
The resulting explosion threw hot steam and shrapnel up to 390 feet from the tractor.
"It was an accident, it was just a tragic accident," Brown said.

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