State Fair report on stage collapse to come soon


We could soon finally know what investigators say caused the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair where seven people died and 40 others were injured last summer.

The governor and State Fair officials tell 13 Investigates the report is on its way. But Indiana lawmakers could not wait any longer to fix two glaring problems: one focusing on steel, and the other, compassion.

Little Maggie Mullen and her mom, Laura, are one of the heart-warming stories of rescue during the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair August 13th.

"People actually stepped in this time," Laura Magdziarz said with gratitude as she spoke of the men and women who helped save her daughter's life.

They are the real heroes in her eyes, and the Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis honored them Wednesday.

But Magdziarz declined to talk about Indiana lawmakers, who decided to step up and take action now, after the tragedy. They passed a new law that requires for the first time statewide inspections of outdoor temporary stages.

"I'm glad they did it," Gov. Mitch Daniels told 13 Investigates.

It was 13 Investigates that first revealed there were no inspections of the stage rigging that collapsed, nor were the industry required safety checks done.

Gov. Daniels and the chairman of the State Fair Commission both applaud the new measure, but were taking action behind the scenes just in case.

"My view is that we shouldn't be dealing with temporary outdoor stages, at least at the State Fair anymore anyway," the governor. "You know we're working on a way to see that the Coliseum becomes the venue for those big shows in the future," he said, talking of a more permanent way to prevent another rigging collapse.

The Pepsi Coliseum will undergo renovations starting in the fall of 2012 and will reopen in 2014.

"We follow rules, and if they've got some rules, we'll do it," said Lacy. "We're actually, proactively going way beyond that, so that's not a problem with us," he explained as he talked about the importance of the investigation reports.

"We expect to learn a great deal from the investigation and profit from that," he said. "Yes we're proactively looking at having this place safe."

From steel to compassion, lawmakers came together a second time during the emergency session with victims in mind.

"Happy about more compensation for the State Fair Victims families," the governor said of the bipartisan bill that is still awaiting his signature.

The bill calls for another $6 million over and above the $5 million victims and their families received from the state liability fund in December 2011.

"We give a salute to the legislature, coming up with that," said Lacy.

It means more money for families like Maggie's who are still healing, and more money for the seven who died, along with those facing a life time of hurt.

Both measures are now awaiting a signature from the governor.

A spokesman for the Indiana Attorney General's office says they're working to finalize how the money will be split. But off the top, it's likely the families of the seven who died would receive additional funds that would raise their total amounts to the state's $700,000 liability cap per incident.

Reports from the Engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti, and Witt & Associates are expected out in before the months end.