Fines Doled Out For Safety Violations At State Fair
Fans watch as the stage at the Indiana State Fair collapses amid a gust of wind Saturday, August 13. Five people were killed and dozens more were injured. Getty Images
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Three parties are accused of violating safety regulations, but not necessarily causing the deadly stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair last year.
On Wednesday, the Indiana Department of Labor released the first report regarding the accident prior to a concert by country music group Sugarland on August 13.
Seven people died when the stage rigging was blown down by 70 MPH winds that suddenly swept through the fairgrounds in Indianapolis. Dozens more concert-goers were hurt, including Shannon Walcott, of Erlanger, and her daughter Jade Walcott.
“My hope is that today represents at least a partial step towards closure for all those that were affected,” said IDOL Commissioner Lori Torres.
The department’s report says the company which owned and built the stage rigging, Mid-America Sound, showed “plain indifference” to safety standards.
Greenfield-based Mid-America was fined $63,000 for three major safety violations.
Two other organizations – the Indiana State Fair and Local 30 representing the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees – were fined $6,300 and $11,500, respectively. They were each cited for smaller safety violations.
“Nothing we cited should be used as a conclusion that the failure to have done something caused the collapse,” Torres said.
Still, the report angered the Local 30 union. Bill Groth, attorney for the IATSE, said the state needs to look in the mirror.
“(This is) an attempt to deflect attention away from themselves,” Groth said. “The State Fair Commission and State Fair personnel are ultimately responsible here. And they’re looking for scapegoats and we happen to be first in line.”
Following the state report’s release Wednesday, Mid-America Sound released part of a deposition from the state fair’s executive director that Sugarland twice refused to delay the concert before the stage fell.
The band has not commented.
Further details of the IOSHA report can be found at http://www.in.gov/dol/files/ISFC_News_Release.pdf.