5:59 PM EDT, August 17, 2011
Governor Mitch Daniels told Fox59 News Wednesday that he's ordered the Indiana State Fair commission to investigate its staff's decisions in the hours leading up to Saturday night's fatal stage collapse.
"I think both the procedure and decisions that were made and the structural situation around the stage both need a good hard look and we've ordered one," Daniels said.
The collapse of the main stage at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand Saturday night killed five people and sent 45 people to area hospitals. A wind gust estimated at more than 70 mph preceeded the collapse.
Fair personnel were advised by the National Weather Service twice that a storm would roll in during a concert by the band Sugarland. Fair spokesman Andy Klotz said on-site meteorologist Paul Poteet told him he advised Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye at 8:15 p.m. that the concert would likely be delayed or should be postponed. Indiana state troopers moved into the Grandstands at 8:30 p.m. to begin evacuating fans. The NWS issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 8:39 p.m. Hoye then sent announcer out on stage at 8:45 p.m. to tell the crowd the concert would soon start and four minutes later the stage crashed.
"We're going to provide them help to make sure that the look into the chronology of what happened that tragic evening is complete and accurate so everyone at that point and not until that point I think can make judgements about decisions."
Fox59 news has learned that earlier in the week, a part of the stage roof called the centerplug blew off in a moderate wind and was reattached before the Sugarland show.
Video of saturday night's stage collapse shows the cloth roof withstanding the high wind gust until it gave way as the stage began to collapse.
The Indiana AFL CIO is also calling for an independent investigation. A union stagehand, Nathan Byrd, died in the collapse.