Ghost Town may be fined
Ghost Town in the Sky was issued a “proposed” fine by the state following an ongoing investigation into a gunfighting incident in July.
Longtime gunfighter Robert Bradley was injured during a routine gunfight when an object from one of the guns got lodged in his thigh. The incident sent him to the hospital and X-rays show several small medal pieces still left in his leg.
A complaint was filed with the N.C. Department of Labor and an inspection was done. DOL issued a $2,000 citation against the Western-themed amusement park Tuesday for “one alleged serious violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina.”
One finding noted in the citation says that “three .45 caliber revolvers and two real 12-guage double barrel shotguns that were capable of firing live ammunition were being used to fire blank ammunition during the staged gun fights.”
In order to abate the problem, the department suggested replacing or modifying the guns with firearms capable of firing blank ammunition only.
It also notes the triggers had been removed from the revolvers, and they were being fired by pulling the hammers back and releasing them. To correct that issue, gunfighters could use only revolvers that have triggers installed.
Through a spokesperson, Ghost Town owner Alaska Presley said that the issues have already been resolved.
“She purchased all new guns that do have the triggers in them that would only fire blank ammunition,” the spokesperson said.
As far as the revolvers, those were “pulled out of service completely.”
Dolores Quesenberry, communications director for the Department of Labor, said, “The case is still considered open because these are alleged citations.”
The maximum penalty for a “serious violation” is $7,000, as laid out by the general statutes for OSH. However, the department takes several factors into consideration when issuing a citation such as the gravity of the violation, the size of the business, good faith and cooperation of the employer and history of previous violations.
Presley was given 15 working days to take one of three steps — pay the fine, contest the fine or request an informal conference with the department. She has already filed a request for the conference, Presley said, which will allow Ghost Town to bring forward any evidence on their behalf.
Presley may still contest the fine after the informal conference, which would involve appealing to the OSH Review Commission, an independent board appointed by the governor.
The full investigation report will not be available until one of those three steps is completed, which could take months depending on what decision is made, Quesenberry said.
“Fines are issued to penalize the offending employer but also to get the attention of other employers with similar work environments,” according to the Department of Labor.
The Maggie Valley Police Department is continuing its own investigation into the gun incident.