Governor Daniels Hires Independent Firm to Help Investigate the Reason Behind the State Fair Stage Collapse

By Scott Sarvay

August 19, 2011 Updated Aug 19, 2011 at 12:27 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - An extensive investigation into the causes of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse is still underway.

And now a new firm has joined the case.

Reports say Governor Mitch Daniels hired Washington D.C. based public safety group, Witt Associates, for an independent examination of the events leading up to the collapse and the State Fair's response.

The move comes after questions were raised about whether the state can objectively investigate itself.

Earlier in the week Indiana State Fair officials hired a New York-based engineering firm to help investigate the deadly stage collapse.

The two firms will join the investigation being led by the State Police into what caused the stage to collapse shortly before country band Sugarland was to perform.

A strong gust of wind ahead of severe weather has been blamed for killing five people and injuring 45-others.

Governor Mitch Daniels says he may support a call for mandatory inspections of those structures, as long as it's a common sense policy.

"I think before we start any witch hunts, we ought to gather all the facts. And recognize that there were some extraordinarily unusual circumstances going on, meteorologically and otherwise," says Governor Daniels.

We can tell you the company that built the stage, has no safety violations in the past 18 months.

Questions were raised about why state inspections aren't required for this type of "temporary" stage and why the company didn't report the "job related" death within 8 hours, as is required by law. But it could be months before a full report is released.




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