15-month-old shocked at carnival dies

FRIDAY A.M. UPDATE: A young girl who was shocked at a carnival at Towne West Square last weekend has died. We received an update from Wesley Medical Center Friday morning.

Her family released this statement Friday morning:

“Our Pressley passed away on Wednesday afternoon. We have made the difficult decision to donate her organs so that other patients in need of transplants no longer have to suffer through their illnesses and that her death was not in vain. We request that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”
Shaun and Rheannon Bartonek

The girl had been in critical condition since touching a fence at the carnival. Police say that fence was charged with electricity.
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Update: Westar Energy says a fence at the Evans United Shows carnival in the Towne West parking lot was charged with electricity Friday night.

A toddler's family says the 15-month-old girl suffered critical injuries after she touched the fence.

A standard house outlet has 110 volts, a washer dryer plug has 220 volts. Westar says crews tested the fence after the toddler touched it and found it was charged with 290 volts of electricity.

Westar says a technician stood by, while the carnival staff "made the scene safe," but because the equipment is not theirs, the power company doesn't know why the fence was charged, or what work was done.

Evans United Shows, the Missouri-based company that runs the carnival, refused to respond to our calls, texts, or emails asking what caused the fence to be charged with electricity.

Master Electrician Jeff Kretchmar said a wire most likely had a break in it, so electricity came out of it, charging the fence.

"They would get shocked, plain and simple," said Kretchmar. "You get the electric tingle going through it because your body becomes a grounding conductor at that point, and it's trying to return to the earth ground that way."

According to records in Missouri for Evans United Shows, the company's permit is up to date, and it has never been investigated for an accident.

The 15-month-old remains hospitalized. Her grandmother says she is still very critical, with a swollen brain. She also needed a blood transfusion.

The carnival packed up Monday after its ten-day stop in Wichita. It will head to Topeka next. There, the carnival will run from May 18-28.

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Update: Wichita Police confirm that an electrical current was running through a guard rail touched by a 15-month-old girl Friday night.

The girl was at a carnival located in the parking lot of Towne West Square.

The girl's grandparents say she remains unresponsive and in critical condition. They say the major concern at this time is brain swelling.

The girl's grandparents say she is on a ventilator and feeding tube. She also had a blood transfusion.

Deedee Sun is following the story today to find out who inspects these carnivals before they open to the public.
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A 15-month-old was taken to the hospital in critical condition after she went unresponsive while she was holding onto a guard rail at a carnival at Towne West on Friday night.

Eyewitness News talked to the girl's grandparents. They asked to stay unnamed, and not identify their granddaughter, for privacy.

"She went to touch it, and all of a sudden her head went back, and her eyes rolled back, and her mom said, 'Is she ok?' They went to get her from the fence, and she just went limp," the girl's grandparents said.

No one else was hurt at the time. Police have not confirmed whether she was actually shocked, but they are investigating a possible electrical issue.

The grandparents of the injured girl said they are concerned the fence has not been removed.

"We don't want any other children to get hurt, and that baby right now is laying in that bed unresponsive when she was a perfectly healthy baby. She just wanted to have fun," the girl's grandparents said.

Evans United Shows is the company that runs the carnival at Towne West. It said there are ground rods to prevent shocking issues. The company also said the carnival is inspected weekly, and there are no dangers for people to worry about.

The Department of Labor keeps track of documents, but it does not do inspections at carnivals.

Eyewitness News contacted the department to find out if there's somewhere parents can go to find out how safe a carnival is.

We are waiting for a response, but the website doesn't appear to have any lists or records about the safety of carnivals.