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Questions about Indiana stage collapse linger

Aug 16, 2011 8:59:00 AM - thestate.com
As the Indiana State Fair reopened after a deadly collapse of a concert stage, questions lingered about the structure's safety, why fans weren't evacuated as a storm moved in and whether anything could have been done to prevent the tragedy.

State fair officials have not said whether the stage and rigging were inspected before 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.

Saturday night's accident happened when a wind gust estimated at 60 to 70 mph toppled the roof and the metal scaffolding holding lights and other equipment. The stage collapsed onto a crowd of concert-goers awaiting a show by the country group Sugarland.

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."

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