Daniels outlines changes following stage collapse - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Daniels outlines changes following stage collapse

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Governor Mitch Daniels Governor Mitch Daniels
INDIANAPOLIS -

Governor Mitch Daniels wants to know where temporary stages are going up across the state after last year's tragedy at the State Fair. Daniels is issuing new orders and, for the first time, talking about restructuring a state agency.

The stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair last August was a lot of things, but for investigators, it was not a fluke.

"It didn't meet industry standards for structural design," said Scott Nacheman, structural investigator with Thornton Tomasetti.

"The overall state of preparedness was not adequate," added Charles Fisher of Witt and Associates, the firm that investigated the State's response.

Now, for the first time since the release of the findings, Daniels says firings at the State Fair Commission could be a part of an overhaul he's now considering.

"Maybe someone will...but this will all be part of a restructuring decisions that are about to start now," Daniels said while answering reporter questions Tuesday.

While he stopped short of saying whether the "restructuring" would include State Fair Director Cindy Hoye, Daniels was adamant about keeping Commission Chairman Andre Lacy at the helm. He also revealed Lacy never offered to resign his position in the wake of the tragedy.

"No, but I wouldn't have accepted it. He's just the right person to drive the necessary changes," said Daniels.

With the spring concert season approaching, Daniels is now ordering a review for all temporary stages.

"I gave instruction this morning to the Department of Homeland Security that we want to know anywhere in the State of Indiana, if anyone is contemplating a temporary structure, we want to make sure those are looked at even before we have new code in place," the governor explained.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security has been drafting new emergency rules since state lawmakers passed a new law requiring temporary stage inspections. The new rules are expected to be presented on May 2 to the Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission.

An independent investigation released last week found the State Fair had no clear chain of command for deciding when to evacuate fans. A separate investigation found that the rigging which killed seven people and injured close to 60 people was not built to withstand the 59 mph winds that knocked it down.

Last week, the State Fair released the findings of two investigations into the stage collapse. Lacy said Hoye had offered to resign several times, but he said the commission wanted her to stay on.

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