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Expocentre officials to keep eye on visiting carnival that saw small child suffer serious shock in Wichita

A 15-month-old girl apparently suffered a serious electrical shock last week at a carnival put on in Wichita by Evans United Shows, which will offer a carnival beginning Thursday in the parking lot at Topeka’s Kansas Expocentre.

H.R. Cook, the Iowa-based regional general manager for Pennsylvania-based SMG, which manages the Expocentre for Shawnee County, said Wednesday he plans to personally come to Topeka to talk with Tom Evans, owner of Evans Shows.

But Cook, who was general manager of the Expocentre for SMG from 1999 to 2015, said SMG has had no safety issues with Evans Shows during the roughly 25 years it has put on an annual carnival in Topeka.

Cook said Tom Evans personally travels with the carnival, which will be offered through May 28 in Topeka.

The Wichita Eagle reported members of the 15-month-old victim’s family said she was apparently shocked while “swinging back and forth on a handrail that had a wire in front of a bouncy house” Friday evening at the carnival in a Towne West parking lot.

The newspaper indicated the girl’s father said Monday she was in severe to critical condition, and was undergoing tests to determine the severity of her injuries.

The Eagle quoted Westar Energy spokeswoman Ebony Clemons as saying a Westar worker sent to the scene found the equipment was electrified with 290 volts. The worker remained until carnival staff members made the situation safe, Clemons said.

Cook said Wednesday he was surprised to learn of the accident.

“We’ve been in contact with Tom Evans and his staff to better understand the situation in Wichita,” Cook said. “They are still waiting for some of the findings from the investigation.”

Cook said he’s dealt with various carnivals over the years and has found the Evans show to be a “clean carnival” put on by a family that cares about their show’s image, customers and employees.

When the carnival arrives at the Expocentre, Cook said, SMG will carry out its standard procedure of doing a walk-through while keeping an eye out for potential safety issues.

The carnival will open at 6 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, according to the Expocentre website. All rides will require three to four coupons, it said.

The carnival will sell one coupon for $1.25, 20 for $20 and 50 for $45, according to the Expocentre website.

It said discounted armband specials will be offered for $18 each covering 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, and for $25 each covering 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and 6 to 10 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Reporter Tim Hrenchir can be reached at (785) 295-1184 or @timhrenchir on Twitter.

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