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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Local reacts to State Fair collapse

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tyler Fischer, along with his friends and girlfriend, were excited to see Sugarland for the first time at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Saturday.

However, as they sat in the middle of the grandstand awaiting the band, they had no idea what was in store.

That night, the stage fell on top of around 12,000 people who were waiting to see the country band play a concert.

Winds of up to 70 mph were the cause of the disaster, critically injuring some.

About four dozen people were taken to hospitals.

"Everyone was screaming, going into panic mode and heading to exits," Fischer said.

Fischer, the Brazil branch manager at Terre Haute Savings Bank, sat within 100 yards of the area.

He said someone with the Indiana State Fairgrounds had come out to inform the crowd of severe weather that could come their way.

"In a matter of two minutes, the sky went from gray to black," Fischer said. He told The Brazil Times he saw strong gusts of wind pick up.

"I saw the stage sway from left to right," he said, "and I thought there is no way this thing could come down."

When it did, Fischer said it seemed to move in slow motion and the entire disaster felt surreal.

"My first instinct was to grab my loved ones and make sure they were safe," he said. "Then I got sick to my stomach because you could see (the stage) falling on top of people. Those people had no time to react."

Four of the victims died at the scene, Alina Bigjohny, 23, Fort Wayne; Christina Santiago, 29, Chicago; Tammy Vandam, 42, Wanatah; and 49-year-old Glenn Goodrich, Indiana­­­polis. Also, a 51-year-old stagehand from Indianapolis, Nathan Byrd, who was atop the rigging when it fell, died overnight.

"It makes you think life is precious and we must enjoy every second of it," Fischer said. "You never know when something like this could happen. It was an unfortunate fluke."

Fischer said the Indiana State Fairgrounds workers did an "excellent job keeping people calm considering the circumstances."

Saturday's accident was the worst at the Indiana fairgrounds since an explosion at the fairgrounds coliseum in 1963 that killed 74 people attending an ice skating show.

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5 ppl killed 40 hurt and the youngest being a 7 yr old boy. The wind picked up the top of the stage and it came down horrible.

-- Posted by oknow on Wed, Aug 17, 2011, at 11:07 AM

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