Local News

State Fairground barn wasn't properly wired

Posted July 23, 2010 5:25 p.m. EDT
Updated July 24, 2010 6:54 a.m. EDT

— 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.