Local emergency officials think they're prepared for any major accident at the Canfield Fair.
By IAN HILL and NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITERS
CANFIELD -- Steam engines like the one that exploded Sunday evening at the Medina County Fair will be on display at this year's Canfield and Columbiana County fairs.
Jim Brown, Canfield fair board director in charge of the fair's steam show, said that between three and five antique steam engines will be on display at the fair this year. His staff will check the engines for flaws and ensure that the operators are properly licensed before the fair begins, he said.
Waiting to see: Brown also said his staff may take additional precautions once investigators determine the cause of the explosion in Medina County.
"Once we know what happened out there, we're going to address it, whatever it may be," he said.
Meanwhile, Terri Hunter, Columbiana County Fair manager, said that she thinks the deadly explosion at the Medina fair was a freak accident and that Columbiana County Fair officials don't plan to take any special precautions with the steam engines on display.
The Columbiana County Fair begins Tuesday, and the Canfield Fair takes place from Aug. 29-Sept. 3.
Four people died and about 50 were injured when a vintage tractor exploded around 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Medina County fairgrounds. Investigators think a possible steam leak caused the explosion.
Being prepared: Mahoning County emergency officials said that at least one firetruck, two ambulances and between eight and 10 Red Cross workers will be at the Canfield Fair this year. Canfield Fire Chief Robert Tieche added that he thinks the fair's emergency staff is prepared to respond to a fatal accident.
"It's well-covered," he said. "The Canfield Fair is one of the safest fairs in the state." Tieche said that at least one Canfield firetruck is at the fairgrounds each day of the fair.
Has a plan: Walter Duzzny, director of Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency, said the emergency staff has developed a "mass casualty plan" for any major accident at the fair. The plan describes how patients should be identified and treated at an accident scene, Duzzny said.
The plan also sets forth the procedure for managing an accident scene and mobilizing medical resources in the area, he said. Tieche would be responsible for managing any accident scene at the fair, Duzzny said.
"Every time there's a major event at the fairgrounds, it becomes a city in itself," he said. "We have to escalate our services even quicker."
Good idea: Jim Jones, market general manager for Rural/Metro Ambulance in Youngstown, said he thinks the procedure for handling an accident at the Canfield Fair is "very well thought out." At least two ambulances are at the fairgrounds each day, and Rural/Metro has 14 ambulances it could call to the scene of a major accident, he said.
Duzzny added that local emergency officials meet four times each year. Tieche said he has never had to respond to a major accident at the fair.