Indiana State Fair: Memorial service re-opens state fair after stage collapse (VIDEO)

The Indiana State Fair re-opened Monday morning with a memorial service, honoring the five victims who lost their lives and dozens more who were injured following Saturday night's stage collapse.

Darron Cummings/AP
Friends of Alina Bigjohny comfort each other during a memorial service at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis, Monday, Aug. 15. The service was held for those killed in a weekend stage collapse at the fair.

Victims of Saturday night's stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis were remembered Monday morning during a memorial service at the state fairgrounds.

About 300 people, including Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and other city and state officials, attended the memorial service.

“We come today with hearts that are broken, but hearts that are full,” Governor Daniels told the crowd, his voice cracking at times as he praised those who rushed to the stage to help the injured.

“Our hearts are with you. My heart is full for those who acted in courageous ways. … There was a hero every 10 feet on Saturday night. I cannot tell you how proud I am to be the employee of six and half million people like that.”

Five people were killed Saturday night and more than three dozen were injured as a result of stage rigging, lights, and sound equipment crashing to the ground after strong winds hit the State Fair Grandstand area.

Minutes before the winds struck, concertgoers, on hand to see the country group Sugarland, were told about severe weather in the greater Indianapolis area and how and where to move to safety. But some reports say that the audience was not told to evacuate because the storm was thought to be 30 minutes away.

A week ago, in Tulsa, Okla., a severe thunderstorm – with 70-80 m.p.h. winds – brought down the stage where the rock band Flaming Lips was performing at a block party.

Meteorologist and blogger Jim LaDue looks at the timeline of the Indianapolis weather reports issued before the tragedy, and also suggests that bandstands need to be built to higher standards:

“Certainly it appears this stage couldn’t withstand winds any more than 45 kts (55 mph) and it’s likely the stages that failed this year in Tulsa, OK Ottawa, ON, and last year in El Reno, OK also were similarly weak.”

After the collapse and before the final death toll numbers were released, some concertgoers talked about what they witnessed.

[ Video is no longer available. ]

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.