Local News

State Fairground barn wasn't properly wired

Posted July 23, 2010
Updated July 24, 2010

— Electricians who installed lighting at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds barn did not connect grounding wires in a barn where a horse died last week , a spokesman for the state said Friday.

Breeze, an 8-year-old quarter-horse, died Saturday after being shocked and then thrashing about in a stall at the Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex.

Brian Long, with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said the lights were installed 27 years ago and that no one knew of the problem until last week.

"If everything had been like it was supposed to be – like we always thought it was – then the problem with the exterior light fixture would not have caused any problem," Long said. "It would have simply tripped a breaker."

He said electricians have found and fixed similar wiring problems in at least one other barn, and they're inspecting each of the facility's other six barns before allowing horses back inside.

"They're absolutely safe. We're not going to use any barn that hasn't been thoroughly checked," Long said.

Still, some attending a horse show at the fairgrounds this weekend were concerned about housing their animals.

"I'd say we were more vigilant this time when we got here to kind of inspect the stalls and be sure that everything was OK," Jennifer Carroll said.

Susan Rouse, however, said she did not give it a second thought.

"I feel like the facility people have addressed the problem, and we're just as safe as we can be," she said.

Long said the wiring of the rest of the fairgrounds isn't a concern because of major electrical upgrades in recent years.


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  • tgcmisc Jul 23, 2010

    I will state, from the outset, that I am a retire safety professional that accompanied many NCDOL Inspectors on their tours. They are professional and very well trained. I have seen them discover wiring errors that were undetected for many years, but did NOT result in an injury. Many times, we had electricians spend several months inspecting the remainder of the building and NOT finding similar issues.

    As I understand the article, this was one branch lighting circuit that was not grounded to the lighting panel. It is not clear whether it was a sub lighting panel with many circuits or only one circuit in the lighting panel.

    An outlet circuit is easy to test. A lighting circuit does not have a "plug in" when you can plug in a simple tester.

    The NCDOT's inspectors could perform the necessary inspection(s) and assist the state in identifying additional problems. However, this may truly be one isolated incident.

    The state is making an aggressive effort to rectify the situation.

  • Suasponte Jul 23, 2010

    This whole states needs to be taken out back, placed in a wash tub and scrubbed with a bar of lye soap. It's been too long since it had a good clean'en. It's really starting to stink. And yes, I'm native.

  • ORMA Jul 23, 2010

    It is sad to me that the inaction of a few state employees could cause comments pertaining to the idea that all state employees are not results oriented or in the real world. A great number of us are and I, for one, am VERY results oriented in my job. If I wasn't, my contract would not have been renewed.

  • ECU4lyf Jul 23, 2010

    i agree GWALLY, looks like they would just go on and take the blame, noone wants to take responsibilty any more

  • GWALLY Jul 23, 2010

    Checking to see if any outlet, panel box or lighting is grounded is very simple...something "facilities" people know how to do. You don't have to be an electrician to check it either. Blaming an electrician that did the work 27 years ago is one lame excuse even for state employees....but then again we are not talking about real world, results oriented employees either.

  • rugrat462 Jul 23, 2010

    Thats sad, looks like that horse owner will be getting her alot of horses now