Twin brothers honored for helping victims of fair tragedy


CARMEL - The quick thinking and action of two Carmel teens during the state fair tragedy are being recognized. The young men, both juniors at Carmel High School, were employees at the fair.

Twin brothers AJ and Sam DiCarlo share more than a birthday. "Same friends. Same everything," says AJ of their bond.

And as it turned out, they shared the same response when they saw others in trouble.

"You just saw the roof come off and then the stage just collapsed right in front of you," said AJ.

The brothers were in the grandstand waiting to hear Sugarland at the Indiana State Fair nine days ago when tragedy struck.

"I was like hey, let's go down there, and then I followed," said Sam and AJ. "It was just our first instinct to do that," added AJ.

Once down in the wreckage the brothers split up.

Sam helped a woman he only remembers now as wearing a white dress. "Me and about four people helped backboard her on the table and I carried her out through the truss to the right hand side of the stage," said Sam.

AJ was with a man he would later recognize in news reports. "That was Nate Byrd," AJ said. "We were talking to him, saying just hold on Nate, but he wasn't really with us," he added of helping the critically-injured stagehand who later passed away at Methodist Hospital.

"We were there from 8:49 when it happened until 12:20, doing whatever we could," explained Sam.

"What they did in the face of disaster is an inspiration to all of us," said Carmel High School Principal John Williams. The twins were honored Monday for their efforts at a Carmel Clay Schools Board meeting.

"They didn't just assist, they went underneath the rigging (and) assisted several wounded individuals at considerable potential cost to themselves," said school Superintendent Dr. Jeff Swensson.

But the brothers say they just did what felt right to them. "God put us in a place for a reason and I guess that reason was to help out," explained Sam.

And they did, during a time of great need, just like so many others did that night.