By Judy Reed
The Fourth of July celebration in Sand Lake ended in tragedy early Tuesday morning when a carnival worker was electrocuted while taking down a ride.
According to Sand Lake Police Chief Ken Williams, the accident occurred about 3:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 5, while workers from McDonagh’s Amusements were folding up the Fire Ball, a tall circular ride that replaced the Ferris Wheel.
“The ride was set up in a safe location, and the public was never in any danger,” explained Williams, “but when folding it up, the arms swing out to the side and there was a power line nearby it came in contact with.”
One worker manned the controls, while another was on top of the ride, pushing away a power line with a wooden stick covered with electrical tape on one end. During that process, the man on top was electrocuted. “A witness said someone yelled to him to jump but it was too late,” said Williams.
The man caught on fire and fell 36 feet to the pavement. “It was a horrendous sight for those that saw it,” remarked Williams.
Workers from Consumers Energy and MIOSHA were on scene this morning to try to determine what happened. Because the stick the worker used was not burned, they suggested that either the ride came into contact with the power line, or that the victim did. “It’s hard to tell how close you are to a power line when looking straight at it,” explained one Consumers Energy worker. “(After pushing the line away) it may have come back and hit him.”
The victim, identified as Steven McCann, 41, of Jackson, Michigan, was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:26 a.m. An autopsy will be done either today or tomorrow to determine whether he died from electrocution or from the fall.
McDonagh’s Amusements is based in Chesaning, Michigan.