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Four Killed, 40 Injured at State Fair Tragedy

This morning four people are dead and more than 40 people are injured following the collapse of the State Fair stage at last night’s Sugarland concert.  High winds that came through the area last night were responsible.

There isn’t much to comment on this politically, but it is a reminder about how tragedies can happen quickly and we should never take any day for granted.  It is also a reminder about how dedicated public safety employees are, police, fire rescue, etc.

If you have time, take a few moments and reflect on what is really important in this world.  You will be surprised at what you remember.

  • Dave

    With about six laps to go, in the final & feature race of the Mass Ave Criterium (a 75 minute race on a fixed course or loop); a powerful & sustained wind gust, showered full trash bins & debris, NW to SE, across the course, directly in the path of the lead riders crossing the start / finish line & preparing to make the course’s first corner, a sharp hairpin; some dodging & others colliding, with those hazards.

    Race officials responded well to degraded conditions, when the announcer declared the event would be shortened… “to three- no! One lap to go!”  The final lap bell sounded & the field responded in all out sprint fashion.  The riders, course officials & vendors, quickly packed up in a downpour.  As people talked about a fast race with an “epic finish,” no one knew; that same gust, which shortened a fast race, had tragically altered the lives of fellow citizens a few short miles away.

  • cynical sam

    What is really important in this world.  Hmmmmmm……think,think…..ponder,ponder….Oh, I know. LIBERTY.
    All else is illusion and BS.

  • Think Again

    Among the important things: our baseline instincts.  And the instinct of thousands of folks at the fairgrounds last night, were to rush to help. It is a powerful image.  Their reflexive thoughts were to offer assistance.

    Abdul, you seem to have a handle on the 25th floor—I am really curious: why did the mayor have to rush to comment publicly last night?  He was borderline cogent, but this is a state event.  I noticed the govenror and state fair director were front-and-center in the press conference today.  That state fair lady is a solid winner.  

    If the Mayor was trying to instill calm, so be it.  It looked like he was anxious to get in front of cameras.  Which is troubling.

  • Think Again

    Among the important things: our baseline instincts.  And the instinct of thousands of folks at the fairgrounds last night, were to rush to help. It is a powerful image.  Their reflexive thoughts were to offer assistance.

    Abdul, you seem to have a handle on the 25th floor—I am really curious: why did the mayor have to rush to comment publicly last night?  He was borderline cogent, but this is a state event.  I noticed the govenror and state fair director were front-and-center in the press conference today.  That state fair lady is a solid winner.  

    If the Mayor was trying to instill calm, so be it.  It looked like he was anxious to get in front of cameras.  Which is troubling.

  • jlg

    You are truly pathetic! You are talking about a man who spent his
    career serving his country, and now he serves this city. How little of a mind
    do you have, you are the one suggesting political motives. This might be
    a “State” fair, but let’s not forget it sits in the middle of Marion County, of
    course our Mayor is going to be very concerned about citizens. I don’t care
    if this happened in Carmel, we still would have seen Greg Ballard reaching out
    and making a difference. That’s what he is about, a man who genuinely cares for
    all mankind. And all you can do is look to put someone down at this moment. Oh,
    you are pitiful. On a day where we should be sad, but also very proud of
    citizens reaching out to help others, but of course I don’t expect you to
    understand this logic, it’s a Marine thing.

    Now go to
    confession! 

  • Turk182

    I always noticed T.A. taking cheap shots at republicans, no matter what the subject is he takes the Cheap shots,
    always trying to get the political edge, even when politics are not involved, like last nite,
    But guys like T.A. are the first to stand up and bark when someone says something about President Obama, saying he’s the President you should respect the position.
    Mayor Ballard is the commander In-Chief of our great city, like it or not.
    I personally think T.A. hates this city, and Country.
    The only positive things he says is about Democrat leaders or candidates.
    How short sided this guy is.
    My prayers go out to the families who have suffered from this horrible event.
    You would never see T.A. run and help his fellow citizens in the time of need, he would just depend on the government and call 911 and walk away.
    Your a shameful individual.
    Great job done for the Public Safety folks too!
    Your training shows!
    I believe T.A. has some of the same traits as the former leader of England, Nevil Chamberlin!

  • cynical sam

    Had folks used more of their instincts (situational awareness) they may have looked up and noticed thunderheads incoming at a real solid clip and bailed the hell out.  This action would have obviated the need to rush to others assistance, thus, calamity avoided.

  • Soylent Green

    Why would the mayor of Indianapolis NOT comment on the event.  True enough, the fairgrounds is indeed state property.  But whose fire department and EMS responded to the scene to assist with the tragedy?  What police department responded when ISP asked for more assistance? Answers:  the INDIANAPOLIS Fire Department, INDIANAPOLIS EMS and the INDIANAPOLIS Metropolitan Police Department.  HIS Department of Public Safety. 

  • Nick

    No weather sirens were sounded.

    I looked at my IPhone when I saw the sky and felt the wind and saw on the weather map a red mass coming our way. The display showed a weather watch, but no warning until it was already hitting us.

    The sad part is that last Tuesday a similar storm hit the State Fair where winds sent at least two unsecured tents flying down the food midway behind the grandstands. I do recall a siren sounding then.

    This on top of the widely reported straight line winds on the northeast side that took down many trees last week.

    This was no fluke.

    Hindsight is 20/20.

  • Nick

    Indy Star; Could the stage collapse been prevented?

    Appears the Governor has already given State safety officials thier conclusion.

    It was no one’s fault, just a fluke of mother nature.

    Don’t expect State fair officials to step up and say they didn’t evacuate soon enough, don’t expect the weather service to step up and admit it didn’t sound the weather sirens or issue a warning until it was hitting populated areas, don’t expect the people who built and assembled the stage to take any blame.

    This state level investigation has already been determined.

    Just wait for someone to say it was the victims fault.

  • Nick

    Indy Star; Could the stage collapse been prevented?

    Appears the Governor has already given State safety officials thier conclusion.

    It was no one’s fault, just a fluke of mother nature.

    Don’t expect State fair officials to step up and say they didn’t evacuate soon enough, don’t expect the weather service to step up and admit it didn’t sound the weather sirens or issue a warning until it was hitting populated areas, don’t expect the people who built and assembled the stage to take any blame.

    This state level investigation has already been determined.

    Just wait for someone to say it was the victims fault.

  • Thenook

    You morons….  

    There were discussions just weeks ago about how the sires were sounded too frequently, and no one payed them attention.  The policy was changed to only sound them when a TORNADO WARNING was issued for the county.  There was no tornado indication, or warning.  The NWS issued a warning for the area.  That warning means that weather meeting the severe criteria IS OCCURRING.  

    I knew it would not take long for someone to gripe about the sirens not going off…  

  • Anonymous

    TA, primary rescue efforts were conducted by the Indianapolis Fire Department in coordination with Indianapolis Emergency  Medical Service…..which are both CITY agencies!!!

  • Anonymous

    TA, primary rescue efforts were conducted by the Indianapolis Fire Department in coordination with Indianapolis Emergency  Medical Service…..which are both CITY agencies!!!

  • Anonymous

    -Agreed.  News reports indicated that the State Fair informed everyone that the storm warning was issued….

  • Anonymous

    -Agreed.  News reports indicated that the State Fair informed everyone that the storm warning was issued….

  • Anonymous

    Last I knew, sirens are for TORNADO warnings only, so people don’t become complacent.  Duhhhhh, temporary structures are not made for strong winds and anyone with common sense knows this.  If winds are strong enough to blow your poolside umbrella over, I don’t want to hear a TORNADO siren!

    -And if your phone didn’t indicate the severe thunderstorm warning, may I suggest you get a new weather service?

  • G Square

    Good point Nook,
    No one wants a nanny state telling them what to do until something bad happens and then they demand to know why the govt. didn’t warn them.  The wonderful freedom of being an adult is living with the results of your decisions.  The death of a UPS driver last week from a storm toppled tree is just as tragic to his family as any of the State Fair deaths.  In both cases, plenty of warnings were posted about incoming dangerous weather.  In both cases, the people involved decided that their current actions were more important than keeping an eye on the weather and looking our for themselves.  Unfortunately for everyone concerned, some paid the ultimate price for their decision.

  • Anonymous

    OK, Nick, I’ll say it! 

    The CHOICE to remain near a temporary structure after a severe thunderstorm warning was issued was purely a personal choice.  People are responsible for their own choices.  NOBODY forced them to remain there! 

    Government is NOT a nanny!  Government issued a warning so people could make an informed decision on where they choose to be.  I suppose Nick wants a government official to hold each person’s hand and escort them home…..sorry, that is NOT the purpose of government. 

    The government provided notice of warning.  What the individual chooses to do is a personal decision.  (I’d have to question the choice to remain near a temporary structure during a severe thunderstorm, but it is a personal choice.)

  • Nick

    Last I heard, the local Homeland Security folks wanted to stop the daily
    11:00 siren test and scale back when the sirens would be sounded because
    of complaints of noise after a very wet spring season.  This after a TV report that many of the sirens were broken and replacement would be costly.

    Clearly this decision needs to be revisited.

    High winds and damaging hail seem substancal enough to sound a alarm.

  • Anonymous

    There is NO reason to “sound an alarm” for high winds and hail.  Geeeezzzzz.  That is a sorry reason and a good way to get people to ignore real TORNADO warnings!

    -Don’t sound a siren when your poolside umbrella gets blown over!

    As for a “hail siren”, that idea is absurd!

  • Nick

    G Square,

    Blaming the victims for not running fast enough or sitting too close to the stage is not only distasteful and cold hearted, but shows a complete lack of understanding of the responsibilities of event organizers and our civil defense system.

    The system broke down somewhere.

    Individuals can only make good choices if they are properly informed like the people at the Conner Prarie concert the same evening.  It is not too much to expect a  structures to be sturdy enough to withstand Indiana weather.

    Don’t blame the victims.

  • Nick

    Debbie Fletcher, spokeswoman for Marion County Emergency Management stressed that sirens are only sounded when needed and that people should be vigilant.”It’s
    saying you need to get more information. Find out what’s going on,” she
    said. “Turn on the TV or radio and find out where the storm is and if
    it’s heading your way.”

    Glitch Changes Usage Of Tornado Sirens
    http://www.theindychannel.com/weather/23326433/detail.html

  • Thenook

    Debbie Fletcher has been gone for over a year.  EMA was merged into the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security around the same time.  The quote you site was in discussing the attempt to reduce sounding the sirens by using software to sound sirens only in an affected area of the county instead of the entire county.  That was abandoned in part because of inconsistent data from NWS.  Sirens didn’t sound in an affected area one time and that was the end of that.  

    The new operations plan announced in the spring and in effect since June is that the sirens are only sounded if a tornado warning is issued for Marion County OR trained spotters report a tornado.  

    Previously the combination of a tornado watch AND a thunderstorm warning OR enough anecdotal reports of a tornado would cause the sirens to be activated.  

  • Nick

    As you indicated this is a new policy with new siren hardware/software, and under new management.

    Indianapolis Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security has some questions to answer.

  • Thenook

    Daily?  You mean weekly as in Friday at 1100 local time.  

    The new sirens and control systems have the ability to report back proper operation, power loss, etc to the operations centers.  Therefor, it is known ahead of time if a siren is off line or in real time if a siren failed to operate.  

    Under the old system volunteers with walkie talkies would observe sirens during the test period and report operation or failure.  The unpaid citizens did this on their own time with their own gas, etc.  Every effort was made to observe as many sirens as possible.  The new systems makes that effort unnecessary.  

    It always amazed me when the media found a siren that didn’t work.  There was always someone who lived or worked near the siren there to talk about how it has not worked for weeks, months, etc.  They can tell the camera, but could never pick up the phone and call someone who could actually do something about it.  Every siren had a placard on the pole with a number to call.  

    I disagree with sounding the sirens for run of the mill severe weather such as damaging hail and strong straight line winds.  Those are predictable and understandable features of a severe thunderstorm.  They are features that we see all the time around here.  A tornado are not predictable, defy explanation to the casual observer and are not features that we experience frequently.  People should know to seek shelter without delay when they hear the siren blow.  But we should not drive them into shelter every time a storm passes through.  At some point, personal accountability comes into play.  

  • Anonymous

    What question is that, Nick?  You want the government to come to little Nick’s location and tell him to come in from the lightening?  -Not to play in the rain?  -Not to J-walk?  -Not to play with downed electrical wires?

    Nick, it’s pathetic that you feel government is your Nanny!  -Grow up!

  • Anonymous

    G Square did not blame anyone.  The storm was an act of nature.  Nobody is responsible for severe weather. 

    As for warning of the storm.  That was done.  All were propertly informed. ‘nough said!

  • Nick

    Too little, too late.

  • Anonymous

    Warning issued BEFORE storm hit.  I’d say that is just about all you can ask for….

  • Nick

    State Police timeline on Channel 13 website:

    5:57 Weather Service Issued Severe Weather Watch
    7:04 First auto dialer weather notice sent to fair staff
    8:09 Second auto dialer weather notice sent to fair staff
    8:39 Weather Service Issued Severe Weather Warning
    8:45 Preliminary weather announcement given to concert audience
    8:49 Stage Collapses

    The concert started at 7:30.

    The 16,000 people at the concert had only minutes to evacuate.  Obviously not enough time.

  • jlg

    There were plenty of people who left the grandstands and took shelter, after they were given warning. Didn’t they even announce that the concert would be delayed? They were warned, once again people make their own decisions and if most people thought this would just pass over, like many storms do, it was no more than a tragic situation. Let’s not forget at the very same time this was happening, we had people riding the ferris wheel in the Midway. Thank God it didn’t hit both places.

    Do you really believe someone must be blamed? 

  • Thenook

    What questions?  

  • Thenook

    What questions?  

  • Nick

    When did they start shutting down the rides such as the Ferris Wheel which reportedly sustained no damage or injuries?

  • Nick

    When did they start shutting down the rides such as the Ferris Wheel which reportedly sustained no damage or injuries?

  • Emily

    Wow…blame blame blame!! The finger pointing on here is pretty sad.  The fact of the matter is, that whether or not there was proper warning, this was an unexpected tragedy caused by an act of God. All we can do is learn from it and try to help those families affected by it.  Things like this should make you realize how quickly accidents can happen and how precious life is, not send you into a squabble about who is to blame.  

  • Scooter

     Oh oh….. you said ‘GOD’.   TA’s gonna be all over you like a chicken on a june bug for that indiscretion.  In ‘TA’s Wierd World Of Al’ (Gore), the wind was caused by the warming produced by the deep fat fryers cooking that fair food, and was amplified by all the electricity consuming incandescent light bulbs everywhere.  The final link was the fat lady getting on the ferris wheel to set it all in motion.

    Seriously, I was stunned to watch the video of the rigging coming down, then the number of people that just charged into the pile of twisted metal & equipment.  I doubt that all were police/fire/emt/doctors/nurses… no, just normal folk that went to help.  And did a damn fine job of it also.  Tables, folded chairs used as emergency tools & total strangers working in unison to aid those in need.   Looking at what happened at the Wisconsin State Fair a week ago, it’s reassuring to see that human caring isn’t gone.  Police, Fire, Hospitals, EMS…. all the plans made for a mass causality scenario seem to have worked fairly well amid the mass of people, weather & equipment.

    Responsibility be damned.  It happened.  Learn from it.  Fine tune those ‘best practices’ so that this never has to happen again.

  • Emily

    Oh, the horror! My apologies…simply a figure of speech.  No association to any denomination, religion, lack thereof, etc.  :)

  • Scooter

    ROTFLMSFMBO!!!

    There were three kinds of people at the Indiana State Fair, Saturday nite;

    1)  Those that make things happen – commonly referred to as Independents, Conservatives or TEA-Baggers.

    2)  Those that wondered what happened – commonly referred to as Progressives, Liberals, or IPS Brass.

    3)  Those that passed out business cards – commonly referred to as Lawyers, Attorneys, Gutter Rats….

    Listen, I’m deeply saddened at the loss of life and the the injuries to so many, and my heart-felt thoughts & prayers go out to them…. but at the same time I am oh, so very thankful that it was not worse.

  • Steved608

    Really? I know several liberals that were involved with helping clear the injured. Putting labels on this is pure BS. Pure crap. People die so lets turn it into a political blame game. Pure class, low but class.

  • pascal

    My friend, who was there, says this is accurate.  She and her companions decided to stay.  Two minutes later they changed their minds and lived.

  • pascal

    I suggest you all notice that TA went dark after being blasted into tiny pieces for being clueless and stupid.  This is his regular practice on being called out.  Check the postings yourself. 

  • Scooter

    It’s an interjection of humor, as what has happened is sad enough.

    ….watch for me soon on that site called People of Walmart.  I’m the one dressed kinda funny.

  • jlg

    I think I agree, but who and where did this “Nick” come from, sounds if he has been hanging out with TA way too long.

  • Anonymous

    Ignorant people often externalize their failures by blaming government.

    It sure seems like Nike and TA are one-in-the same!  Both get their twisted views beat by true facts and then become silent. 

  • Anonymous

    Ignorant people often externalize their failures by blaming government.

    It sure seems like Nike and TA are one-in-the same!  Both get their twisted views beat by true facts and then become silent. 

  • Scooter

    Yep!  I was right!!

    #3 is on TV (FOX59), hanging out in front of a hospital, (Methodist),  & calling injured folks at home already. 

    Let’s go for the big prize – you gutter snipes – and play the PTSD card on all those that responded & witnessed that rigging come down.

  • pascal

    I think that comment is accurate although I haven’t paid that much attention to Nick since TA is an unending source of revenue for Haiti relief efforts-assuming that he is sending cash every time he is shown to be in error. 

  • Steve

    Ok I can deal with that. My retirement plan is learning how to say “Welcome to Wallmart” in the am. Then moonlight saying “Welcome to Lowes” . We can throw political barbs in a different forum.