A carnival worker was electrocuted Monday afternoon while working on a ride at the State Fairgrounds.
State Fair manager Gary Goodman said that Roger Thompson, 43, of Brooksville, Fla., was performing electronics work on The Rainbow ride when the incident occurred shortly after 3:30 p.m. Emergency medical personnel responded to the scene, performed CPR on Thompson and transported him to Palmetto Health Richland, where he was pronounced dead.
Thompson was a 20-plus-year veteran with North American Midway Entertainment and was one of the carnival’s chief operators. Goodman said Thompson’s wife also was in the area and that other family members had been notified.
“We spent a good deal of the afternoon trying to contact family members across the United States and Canada,” Goodman said.
Several area agencies — including the Columbia fire marshal, Columbia City Police, the Richland County Coroner’s office, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Department of Labor —– are investigating, but an exact cause is not yet known.
“We’ll have to wait until they get their investigations done until we have any idea of what the cause was,” Goodman said.
Goodman said that the fair, along with the Columbia Baptist Association and Lexington County Baptist Association, is providing grief counseling to Thompson’s family and other fair employees in advance of Wednesday’s opening day.
The death was the second of a North American Midway employee in two years. In 2008, a worker was killed when he was hit by a ride in a restricted area.
Reach Rantin at (803) 771-8306.