Just watching the “one piece” stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair suggested a lot was wrong with its construction. But so many other symptoms for disaster were present, the accident demanded a thorough investigation.
All the early sound bites from officials were quick to point out what a great job everyone did in the rescues. Even the Gov. wondered how anyone could have predicted this. But the stage itself looked like a house of cards and top heavy with production lighting. How do they test them for wind and sudden storms? What elements are they meant to withstand? the Weather Warning was upgraded from a Watch in plenty of time to evacuate and that system worked. The State Police Timeline showing repeated calls to The Weather Service validates their concern. This WTHR investigation indicates a study of past fairs shows the State Fair did not use cross bracing as in previous concerts to support that kind of production.
Even The Weather Channel responded the next day citing the many alerts and detailing how the State Fair officials acted like the “show must go on,” ignoring severe storm warnings. In this story, they list all the factors that demanded a response. “This wasn’t an isolated pop-up thunderstorm that suddenly sprouted and produced a ‘pulse’ type of severe wind report…what produced the wind at the concert was a strong, long-lived line of thunderstorms which had produced many severe wind/hail reports a couple of counties upstream. Lightning alone was sufficient reason to evacuate people and since lightning was within 10 miles of the fair grounds patrons should have been seeking shelter.“