20 Hurt After Tiny Town Train Tips Over

Kids, Parents, Grandparents Fell Out Of Their Seats

Twenty people, including several children, were hurt after a small open-car train in the Tiny Town amusement park tipped over on its side, tossing passengers out of their bench-style seats.

The 95-year-old amusement park closed after the accident, but anticipates reopening Friday, according to recorded message on Tiny Town's phone Thursday morning.

The derailment occurred at about 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, according Jacki Kelley with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

Of the 30 people on the train, 20 were hurt, and 16 of those had to be transported to the hospital, Kelley said. Five refused treatment at the park.

Swedish Hospital reported receiving seven adults and five children. The eight other patients were taken to St. Anthony Central, Lutheran, and Littleton hospitals.

From Airtracker7, it appeared the train engine and six passenger cars derailed on the first curve of the oval track. The train is slow moving and passengers sit in bench-like seats with no seat belts as they ride.

"It's a very popular place to go with your children here in town. I can only imagine that the reaction of the people riding the train was quite traumatic," said Mark Techmeyer of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

Most of the injuries to the children, parents and grandparents are minor, with a few serious. The injuries range from cuts and bruises to head injuries, Kelley said. Intercanyon Fire spokesman Daniel Hatlestad said there were also some broken bones.

"Most of the injuries appear to be walking wounded," said Hatlestad.

"There's a possibility that some were pinned" by the toppling train cars, Techmeyer said.

Kids, their parents and grandparents fell off the open cars of a small train after the steam engine derailed.

It costs $1 to ride the train which is powered by authentic steam locomotive.

What caused the kid-sized train to derail is under investigation. Engine 10 tipped first and the passenger cars followed and rolled onto their sides. The train's caboose stayed on the tracks.

A man who lives near Tiny Town said after the train derailed, the wheels were still spinning and smoke was still coming out of the engine.

Tiny Town is a small amusement park on South Turkey Creek Road just off Highway 285. It bills itself as the "Oldest Kid Size Village and Railroad in the USA," according to its website.

The amusement park has more than 100 colorful buildings built just for kids. Most are pint-sized replicas of actual buildings in Denver and the area around Tiny Town.

According to its website, "Tiny Town was created at the site of the Denver-Leadville stagecoach stop in a scenic mountain canyon southwest of Denver in 1915. That's when moving-company owner George Turner began constructing one-sixth-sized buildings with a turn- of-the-century flavor to delight his young daughter. In 1920 the town was opened to the public. In just five years, it became one of Colorado's top attractions."

The Colorado State Patrol will assist the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department in reconstructing the derailment.

The state Division of Public Safety investigates accidents and consumer complaints involving amusement park rides and is investigating this incident.

According to the Division of Public Safety, the Cinder Bell #10 engine, has passed inspection for the last three years and been granted a certificate to operate. Its most recent inspection was on May 18.

SaferParks.org reported that since July 2003 there's been at least 26 derailments of amusement park trains in the U.S. injuring at least 40 people. However, almost all of the injuries were minor.

Agencies responding to the Tiny Town incident include Intercanyon Fire, Indian Hills Fire Rescue, Elk Creek Fire Rescue, West Metro Fire, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and West Metro fire department.

Medical helicopters were put on standby to transport the most critically injured but they were not needed.

The owner of Tiny Town has not released a public statement.

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