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Postscript: Water Slide That Replaced One Involved in Mishap Is Removed

March 18, 1985|RAY PEREZ RAY PEREZ..BD: Times Staff Writer

A 40-foot water slide in Orange, rebuilt after the original slide cracked and injured six people, was dismantled this month for lack of business.

Crewmen from Hydro-Glass Systems, which operated Waterville, U.S.A. at 157 N. Wayfield St. since 1982, worked two weeks reducing the slide to the scores of pieces they took back to the firm's headquarters in Manteca, Calif., on Thursday.

"It just wasn't getting enough business. The reputation probably hurt it, too," said Jerry Odell, who supervised the dismantling of the fiberglass tubular water slide.

Odell, a welder for Hydro-Glass, said the water slide would be reassembled for use at Oakwood Lake in Central California. The company operates nine similar water slides in that area, he said.

A company spokesman in Manteca confirmed that Orange's slide had not generated enough business to remain open.

Odell and his crew used welding torches to cut the steel beams supporting the slide into five-foot segments to make it easier to haul and reassemble.

On Aug. 9, 1981, two people plunged almost 60 feet when the transparent tube cracked. The two were seriously injured, and four others suffered varying degrees of abrasions and cuts.

The two sued the owners of the park, then called the Big O Skate Amusement Park, the manufacturers of the water slide and the City of Orange for unspecified damages. But the case never went to court because the owners declared bankruptcy, a city official said. The city closed the amusement park for six months while it investigated the cause of the accident. A private engineering firm commissioned by the city later determined that the plastic used to construct the spillway tube was faulty. The engineers also determined that the construction of the 68-foot water slide had not met regulations.

In February, 1982, the city gave Hydro-Glass Systems permission to reconstruct the water slide and operate it as Waterville, U.S.A. The firm scaled down the original water slide to 40 feet and replaced the transparent plastic with fiberglass.

Dennis Krejci, an Orange Building Department official, said the firm adhered to safety regulations and that no complaints had been received.

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