Unscathed by fire, Great America’s Goliath to open June 18

Staff report

June 6, 2014 3:48PM

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Updated: July 8, 2014 6:14AM

The same day a small fire sparked next to Six Flags Great America’s much-anticipated new roller coaster, theme park officials offered a hint that Goliath might be unleashed in the near future.

On Friday, Great America announced that a ribbon-cutting for the delayed roller coaster has been scheduled for June 18. Touted as the world’s tallest, fastest and steepest wooden coaster, Goliath’s debut has been delayed twice, with an anticipated Memorial Day weekend unveiling pushed back to May 31 and then postponed indefinitely.

But earlier in the day, emergency responders rushed to the Goliath. At 2:21 p.m., Gurnee firefighters were called to the theme park for a report of a structural fire next to Goliath, Fire Battalion Chief Jim Pellitteri said.

Flames were already doused when crews arrived, Pellitteri said, but crews sprayed more water and foam to ensure the fire didn’t reignite.

The fire was contained to a roof structure that covers the roller coaster’s cars, he said. The wooden roller coaster was not impacted by the fire.

“It was under control by the time we got there,” Pellitteri said. “It was really a low-profile event.”

Firefighters were on the scene in about 30 minutes and the cause remains under investigation, Pellitteri said. There were no injuries.

Since Goliath is still under construction, the roller coaster was already cordoned off from the rest of the park.

In a brief statement, park officials said a ribbon cutting would take place at 10 a.m. on June 18 as part of a preview for media and invited guests that would run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Asked if the ride would be open to the public immediately following the ribbon cutting, park spokeswoman Katy Enrique said there isn’t a confirmed opening date, “but it’ll be opening in the coming days after media day.”

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