Louisiana Fire Marshal Butch Browning was slammed in a 2012 state inspector general’s report for wearing military medals he didn’t earn, allowing gun sales to employees who didn’t qualify and paying his inspectors while they attended an LSU baseball game.
In his response to the report, Browning admitted mistakes within his office, problems that he said were caught and corrected.
But one finding that Browning and the State Office of Public Safety vigorously disputed involved a carnival ride in which Browning blamed operator error for a May 2011 accident that badly wounded two young teenagers in Greensburg, La.
Records show that inspectors from the fire marshal’s office approved the ride – The Zipper – even though it was improperly modified. State Inspector Byron Wade checked the box next to “safety stops,” even though the ride’s emergency brake and protective cover on the on-and-off switches had been removed.
When an operator accidentally brushed against the switches as a 13-year-old girl and her 15-year-old brother were getting off the ride, the youngsters were catapulted about 15 feet to the pavement below.