Indiana State Fair stage collapse: Was it preventable? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Indiana State Fair stage collapse: Was it preventable?

AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Matt Kryger AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Matt Kryger
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (KCBD) -

After the stage collapsed during the Indiana State Fair many people wondered how could this happen?  The stage collapse killed five people and injured more than 40 others, police and fair officials blamed unexpected 60 to 70 mile-per-hour winds that prevented them from taking adequate precautions.

Danny Miller, owner of Miller Pro Audio in Lubbock and an expert at stage construction, says he was shocked when he saw the video. He puts up hundreds of outdoor stages every year, and he wonders if those responsible for the structure in Indiana secured it properly.

"It was horrific to watch and it just seemed that structurally something was off," Miller said. "No one can say truly by looking at the video what happened, but we put up 250 to 500 of those per year, and we have never had that happen."

Miller says wind gusts even at 45 mph would have him notifying a concert promoter that the conditions were dangerous.

"When you watch the videos you can see before it even breaks loose, how its breaking in the wind," Miller Pro Lighting Director, Tony Orosco said.

"My first question was how was the structure anchored? Was it anchored properly with the proper rigging because they can withstand a tremendous amount of wind," Miller explained.

So what goes into keeping these 50 to 60,000 pound structures secure?

"We use guided cables to keep it up, these steel cables attach to the corners and there is a block that will wrap around to hold it up on top," Orosco said.

"You have to be extra careful to make sure your really anchored in the system properly so that there is no movement laterally. That way the structure wont move side to side," Miller explained. Miller Pro says you can see in the you tube videos that the stage was already losing pieces which should have been an indication that something was wrong.

"The rooftop skin breaks away and creates a sail, which may have caused it to fall as well," Orosco said.

However, Miller Pro says even with high winds they would automatically take precautions.

"If we have the time we take measures to lower them to the ground," Miller explained.

Miller says what happened in Indiana was an isolated incident. "This doesn't normally occur."

"We want the structure to stay up and go up until were done with the show and then we can bring it down. So we take all the precautionary measures to keep the public safe," Orosco said.

"I hope this situation brings about more licensing and regulations for companies involved in this business and I will be happy to be first in line," Miller said.

Authorities in Indiana are still investigating whether or not the weather was to blame.

Copyright 2011 KCBD. All rights reserved.

 

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