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Derby watchers moved after loose bolts found on bleachers

Loose bolts caused some of the spectators at the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo's demolition derby to lose their seats for part of the show Monday evening.

The loose bolts were discovered on bleachers in one seating area during the beginning of the derby, said Lori Lancaster, fair manager.

Those patrons were moved to the VIP viewing area while the bolts were tightened, she said. They were able to move back to their seats during the derby.

But Dennis Crater of Kennewick, who attended the derby with his daughter Danielle, said a portion of the bleachers actually collapsed after the heat races started, with the aluminum twisting in a way that made him think bolts were loose.

No one was injured, but Crater said he was concerned about the safety and the potential for serious injury. He thinks the bleachers should be inspected by the state Department of Labor and Industries before being used for any more events.

"They are dang lucky that someone wasn't seriously hurt," he said.

When asked about inspections, Lancaster said the fair leases the facility from Benton County.

Crater said people also were moved to a standing-room-only area, rather than seating. And he said he was upset that he was at first told he would not be able to receive a refund for his two tickets. He did eventually receive a refund after pursuing it at the fair office.

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