Union hands over records on injured State Fair stagehands - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

13 Investigates

Union hands over records on injured State Fair stagehands

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Enoch Vinnegar Enoch Vinnegar
INDIANAPOLIS -

At least nine stagehands from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 30 felt the brunt of falling steel when the scaffolding collapsed at the Indiana State Fair.

Nathan Byrd died. Spotlight operators Steve Stover, Enoch Vinnegar and Kyle Covert were in the rigging when it fell.

Court records obtained by 13 Investigates also show: Scott Bauer, Aaron Winegard, John Scharbrough, Rick Berry and Anthony Mancuso were struck down near the stage and injured.

Now, all of their confidential work records are in the hands of Dept. of Labor investigators, turned over Wednesday as part of an agreement with the state.

Investigators want to know if the workers, some of whom helped build the stage, were properly trained.

Enoch Vinnegar tells 13 Investigates none of the union workers should have been hurt or killed if their concerns about the lightning had been heeded.

"We didn't know about the wind. We were just concerned about the lightning hitting the structure," Vinnegar told 13 Investigates.

Union records were initially part of a standoff after investigators from Indiana's Occupational Safety and Health Administration showed up at Local 30 with a search warrant.

The union took the state to court calling the warrant "intrusive."

Now after weeks of behind the scene negotiations, payroll, disciplinary and safety training records for those killed and injured rest with the state, but neither side wanted to talk about the deal.

13 Investigates has learned as many as half a dozen additional union members were assigned to the State Fair as part of the Sugarland stage construction. The state is still waiting for their records and eyewitness accounts.

"Anyone who was there at the site of this tragedy is an eyewitness," said IATSE Local 30 Attorney Bill Groth, explaining why union reps also want to be present for member interviews about the collapse.

Training records for the nine stagehands injured that night will play a key role in the IOSHA investigation. That's because the Department of Labor must determine if the "employer" of these stagehands was negligent. But the big issue still to be determined by the court is whether Local 30 or the Indiana State Fair Commission was the legal employer the night of August 13th.

Statement from Dept. of Labor:

"Today's hearing in Marion Civil Superior Court 1 was postponed until Dec. 5 at 11 a.m. while the Department of Labor and IATSE Local 30 continue working toward a final resolution to the issue over records the Department seeks relating to the IOSHA investigation into the tragedy at the State Fair. So far, records for nine union members have been provided as a part of the ongoing negotiation. Additional records may be requested. The Department of Labor and IOSHA investigation into this tragedy continues."

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