The committee consists of four Democrats, four Republicans and the chair of the committee, Hancock Co. Republican Representative Bob Cherry. The group oversees State Fairgrounds operations and budgets.
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Democratic Rep. David Niezgodski said he wants to learn about the chronology of the collapse and the status of multiple investigations into the tragedy.
This week outside engineers have begun disassembling the collapse wreckage will still remains on the track. That debris will be moved to an offsite warehouse for further examination.
State Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye told committee members attendance was down due to the collapse and revenues fell by $1.5 million. Cost of the investigation is estimated at nearly $1 million.
Hoye told the committee that 27 claims have been made from the Indiana State Fair Remembrance Fund, and 22 have been approved. She also said $332,000 of the $900,000 fund have been distributed. The deadline to submit a claim is November 14. After that, Date Fund Administrator Ken Feinberg will distribute the remaining money to collapse victims.
Hoye said most claims are processed within 24 hours to compensate victims for their medical costs, loss of salary or out of pocket expenses. Victims who receive money from the fund do not surrender their right to sue for additional reimbursement or damages.
Hoye told the committee that the response of fairgoers and rescuers the night of the collapse was "incredible" and that she remains "heartbroken" over the tragedy.
Niezgodski, a South Bend Democrat, was the only lawmaker from the committee to walk out onto the track and look at the collapse damage first hand.
“The reality of the situation is that a great tragedy happened here and sometimes you almost have to put yourself there and visualize it to think…to see the real tragedy of how great the harm was done,” said Niezgodski.
Lawmakers will quickly lose their chance to look at the damage for themselves, as crews have begun disassembling the debris for removal to a warehouse for further inspection.
“The next process will be to begin to weigh those components that were hanging from the rigging structure and those components will also be preserved for other interested parties to inspect as well,” said Doug Huntsinger, policy director for Governor Mitch Daniels. Huntsinger expects investigations of the collapse to continue until next spring.
As he surveyed the site, Niezgodski vowed that the legislature must do everything in its power to avert such a tragedy in the future.
“One thing that we know already is a fact that there was no system of inspections. I’d say whatever comes out of this that some means has to be there that an inspection takes place. You just can’t go in there and if these things are happening all the time, putting up and taking down stages, there still has to be someone who says, ‘Well, I see everything that is all intact. Job well done.’”
Niezgodski said he would introduce legislation in the general assembly to mandate inspections of temporary structures like stages.