Featured on 40:     Bear Sighting RAW VIDEO     Storm Week     Win a 60" TV!     40 Force: School Drive     Weather Discussion    
share on facebook share on twitter
Breaking News
Crews on the scene of a large structure fire in Northampton Read more
Watch ABC40 News Live!   (View)

Big E Using Beefed Up Security Following Boston Bombings

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — More than a million people have passed through Big E gates so far this year, and that number will only rise. Teen sensation Austin Mahone Saturday and the Beach Boys Sunday. For one final weekend, massive crowds will fill the Big E, with beefed up security protecting them on the grounds.

“It’s a very fluid situation,” Director of Operations Gerard Kiernan said. “The best thing about the exposition is that we are a very nimble organization.”

The fair worked with federal, state and West Springfield police to take extra precautions following the Boston Marathon bombings. Many of the measures are hidden, including unmarked and uncover task forces and detectives.

“The people that need to know what to look for are here on our grounds doing their jobs night and day,” Kiernan said. “There’s no question about it.’

Should problems arise, prisoners are processed and held in the Big E’s fully functional police station. 100 special police officers work with the full time staff for all 17 days. The Big E says they want to make sure everyone gets to their cars leaving the fair too, that’s why officers line up and down Memorial Avenue crossing pedestrians.

However, hundreds of vendors use gas and fry liters to cook for those millions of people, so there’s fire danger too. Inspectors make sure vendors have suppression systems, extinguishers, and safety protocols. 12-14 firefighters staff an operating fire station on the grounds. Last year they responded to about 100 calls.

“If they weren’t here on the grounds it’d be a very difficult task to get through traffic, navigate it, and get them packaged up and off the grounds,” West Springfield Deputy Fire Chief Dan Culver said. “So having the resources on the grounds is vital for safety we believe.”

Especially if a worst case scenario unfolds, which first responders both seen and unseen are working to prevent. Detectives also keep their eyes peeled for anybody using drugs, especially with younger crowds when popular shows are in town.

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

  • Fredpiquette

    I had wondered if they had any security in place there. I am avoiding it, because frankly it is a prime target if someone wanted to hurt a lot of people. If the Boston Marathon bombing took place there, it would be 10x the death rate of Boston. I’ve been there enough years to have seen it all anyway, so I’m not missing anything by avoiding the fair. I like my arms and legs attached.

    • alpinequeen

      You’re gonna miss the kiosk that serves chilled piquette, you know, that cheap French wine.

  • whittle650

    Good….stay at home and be scared. You obviously don’t know that organizations and businesses often work with the police and use excuses like the Big E to make it look like cops are needed… and that they will prevent crazy things like terrorist attacks from happening. Did the snipers, bomb sniffing dogs, Home Land Security, federal, state, or local officials keep the horror in Boston from happening? We are now being watched by “special police” federal, and state officials…. for having done nothing wrong. Some of these officials probably work the big E crowd for arrests to look important. While youre sitting at home being a coward, think about how your local, state, and federal police are available for hire by any company to protect their interests… While supposedly keeping ours in mind. If you let fear control you. They win.