Zillah police: Safety protocols met before dust devil sent bounce house-like game flying
ZILLAH, Wash. — The Zillah Police Department says safety protocols had been met before wind sent a bounce house-like game to fly in the air, injuring four high school students Wednesday afternoon.
The students were participating in a field day at the Zillah High School football field when a large dust devil dislodged the inflatable game called “Hippo Chow Down” while students were inside, police said.
Zillah Mayor Scott Carmack said the inflatable game went 15-20 feet in the air and traveled 247 feet down the field.
A 17-year-old girl was rushed to Astria Regional Medical Center in Yakima before being flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. On Thursday, a Harborview spokesperson said she is in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
A total of five students were injured during the event, which was organized by the Associated Student Body. One of them was injured in a separate activity and all but one had minor injuries.
In a statement Thursday, police said appropriate safety measures were taken and the inflatable structure was in “serviceable, working condition” before the incident occurred.
The company who owns the bounce houses, “All About Fun,” provided five inflatables for the event.
According to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, the bounce house was inspected on April 6, 2019. Joan Kuhlman, an inspector with International Leisure Consultants, said the ride passed. She’s certified by the department.
The permit for the ride has been revoked by Labor & Industries.
“For us, any injury is significant because our job is to make workers and the public safe and this is something terrible that occurred,” said Matthew Erlich, spokesman for Labor & Industries. “The amusement ride industry and its insurers have a big stake in making sure rides are safe.”
By law, incidents with injuries must be reported to the department.
Erlich says the company had an original certificate of insurance worth at least $1 million, which is on file per occurrence. This is required before running rides in the state.
A permit for the ride will not be issued back to the company until another inspection is done.
Police have completed their investigation and the Zillah School District will be taking over.
According to the occurrence report given to the department by Petrea, the 18-inch inflatable stakes were ripped from the ground.
We spoke to Barbara Petrea, owner of All About Fun. She says they take pride in the safety of their rides.
All About Fun has been in business for 10 years.