This morning, Louisiana based “The Advocate” released information regarding an investigation concerning the failure of an obstacle at last year’s Warrior Dash near Baton Rouge, LA. The obstacle named “Diesel Dome” collapsed at a race on October 8, 2016 and sent at least 11 people to a local hospital with various injuries.
The event and the investigation that followed has led to unprecedented actions in the OCR industry.
Local authorities who have issued arrest warrants on 5 workers connected to the event. According to The Advocate article:
“The warrants accuse the contractors of negligent injuring, and the employees of both negligent injury and engaging in business of contracting without authority.”
There have been at least 3 OCR related deaths dating back to 2011, the most famous being the 2013 drowning of Avi Sengupta at a Tough Mudder obstacle. However, there have never been warrants issued or criminal charges filed against anyone in association with these deaths. Nor have their been been criminal charges that have occurred following any injuries at any obstacle races.
We reached out to Red Frog, Warrior Dash’s parent company, as soon as possible for a statement. They told us:
“Our understanding from local authorities is that summons may be issued but there are no arrest warrants against Red Frog employees. We’ve worked closely with the fire marshal’s office and investigators since the accident that occurred at Warrior Dash on October 8, 2016 and nothing we saw, read or heard during that investigation would warrant criminal charges. One of the employees being charged was not even at the event or involved with the planning of the event. Therefore, we are eager to see the fire marshal’s report. Since we have not seen the report, we cannot comment on it or the nature of any allegations against specific individuals”
ORM also reached out to several other race companies for a quote and/or their thoughts on how this may affect the OCR industry. Spartan Race CEO Joe DeSena told us “An incident like this is unfortunate and shines a spotlight on the how imperative build standards are for the Obstacle Racing industry”. At press time, no other race series chose to comment.
Below is a video from a 2016 Warrior Dash event with the Diesel Dome obstacle functioning properly.
Matt B. Davis
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