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Fire on Disney ride leaves woman hurt

Orlando Sentinel

Original Article »

February 11, 2008

A fire Sunday on the Kilimanjaro Safari at Disney's Animal Kingdom left one woman slightly injured and the park's signature ride closed for the day, park officials said.

Between 3 and 4 p.m. a fire broke out near the front of the truck. Three fire and medical vehicles were dispatched to the scene, said Bo Jones, Reedy Creek Fire District's assistant chief, but the fire was mostly out by the time they arrived.

The fire was caused when an engine hose failed, resulting in a fire in the engine compartment, said Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger. Four guests requested medical evaluation at the scene, and one of them, a woman who complained of a knee injury received when she jumped off the truck, was taken to Celebration Health. The woman was not identified.

The safari ride was closed for the day, which is standard procedure when accidents or malfunctions occur. A team is inspecting hoses on the other Safari trucks, and park officials expect the ride will reopen when the evaluation is completed, Finger said.

CentralFlorida's major theme parks, which are exempt from Florida's ride-inspection regulations, report to the state incidents that are fatal or serious enough to require overnight hospitalization.

During the final three months of 2007, they reported four serious injuries or illnesses from rides, including a fatal heart attack suffered by a 44-year-old man after riding theExpedition Everest roller coaster at Animal Kingdom, according to the "occurrence reports" filed with the state Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection.

Among the serious injuries or illnesses listed for that timespan: a 34-year-old woman broke a vertebra in her lower back onUniversal Studios' Revenge of the Mummy ride on Nov. 18; an 81-year-old woman complained of back pain after falling while boarding The Seas With Nemo and Friends ride at Epcot on Oct. 11; and a 77-year-old man complained of memory loss and irregular heartbeat after falling ill on the Tower of Terror at Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney's Hollywood Studios) on Oct. 19.

One injury was reported on the Kilimanjaro Safaris during the previous quarter. Disney reported that a 42-year-old man broke his left ankle after jumping out of a vehicle on July 16.

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