Questions raised over State Fair Relief Fund distribution
INDIANAPOLIS - About $300,000 of your donations have reached the victims of the Indiana State Fair tragedy.
Seven people died and dozens more were injured when the rigging collapsed on the Sugarland concert stage on Aug. 13th. The chairman of the State Fair Commission reveals hundreds of thousands more dollars are just sitting in the fund - and he wants to know why.
Fair officials also told reporters Thursday that the collapsed rigging will start being removed next week, over two months after the deadly accident.
Piece by piece, the collapsed stage rigging at the Indiana State fair will be dismantled and moved to an indoor location for analysis and testing. Orange tape placed all over the fallen rigging will serve as a guide to Investigators.
"We'll be disconnecting some of the suspended production equipment, the lighting, the speakers, the set and other scenery components that are hanging from the structure, to allow us then on Wednesday morning to lift up the roof structure," said Scott Nacheman, Thornton Tomasetti.
For the last two months, investigators have logged more than 700 components of the roof structure to help develop a model that will recreate the collapse. It means taking a closer look at Sugarland's lights, special effects and sound systems.
"We'll be weighing each and every component that was out there to determine what the true imposed load was on the suspended roof system that did fail," said Nacheman.
It will be a three-day process that will culminate with individuals being able to get their personal belongings back.
A determination on the cause of the collapse is still months away, but not monetary help for those injured in the collapse. At last count, the commission reports $900,000 in charity donations still sitting in the State Fair Relief Fund.
The chairman wants to know why so few of the injured have made claims.
"Total disbursements to this point are $278,000," said Justin Armstrong, State Fair Relief Fund.
To date only 19 claims have been filed. 17 claims have been processed including six estates of those who died.
"I would only point out a lawyer gets a piece of the action on the tort claims, and he doesn't [with the State Fair Relief Fund]. So I petition particularly the lawyers to be a little more gracious for their clients," said Andre Lacy, chairman of the State Fair Commission.
Indiana State Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye says the investigation by the end of the year will be $975,000. Overall the cost associated with the collapse is $1.5 million.