Safety Questions Remain After Indiana Stage Collapse

At this point most people have heard about the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair over the weekend that left 5 people dead and 25 others injured. Apparently a wind gust estimated at 60 to 70 mph toppled the roof and the metal scaffolding holding lights and other equipment, which led to the stage collapsing onto a crowd of concert-goers awaiting a show by the country group Sugarland.

CBS News reported about several safety questions that have loomed following the accident. State fair officials have not said whether the stage and rigging were inspected prior to Saturday’s show. Fair spokesman Andy Klotz said initially that the state fire marshal’s office was responsible for inspections, but he backtracked Monday, saying he wasn’t sure whose job it is.

A spokesman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security said neither the fire marshal nor Homeland Security officials conduct inspections. And the city does not have the authority to inspect items on state property.

“We do have our own requirements within the city for temporary structures, and we do have our own permitting requirements,” said Kate Johnson, spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement. “But in this situation, we don’t have that authority because it’s state-owned property.”

I think the first question that needs to be asked is who (which entity) was responsible for inspecting the stage and scaffolding, and why was the inspection not performed.  The next questions that need to be answered are exactly how and why the fatal accident occurred.  Was there a design flaw?  Was there structural damage? Was the equipment too old?  Once these questions are answered, then it will be easier to determine who was responsible and the process can begin to determine who will compensate the families who lost loved ones and for the 25 others who were injured.

The first place to look for these answers will come when the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration prepares their initial report.  Those reports can sometimes take a few weeks, but often times will take months.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in an Illinois accident or have an Illinois wrongful death case, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-588-3384.