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Engineering Firm Begins Stage Collapse Investigation

Last updated on Wednesday, August 17, 2011

(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Indiana State Fair Commission has hired a New York-based engineering firm to oversee the investigation into the deadly structure collapse last Saturday.

Thornton Tomasetti engineers completed the first day of their investigation at the collapse site Tuesday. The firm has offices all over the world including in Chicago.

Chicago office Vice President Scott Nacheman says engineers are collecting and reviewing all evidence on site. They're probing the structure, design, rigging and assembling procedures done by Mid America Sound Corp. They're also coordinating efforts with Indiana State Police who are conducting their own investigation.

Nacheman says his firm is still negotiating a contract with the State Fair Commission but wanted to begin investigating immediately.

Thornton Tomasetti also did modeling analysis after the I-35 overpass collapse in Minneapolis and also consulted on an investigation in New York in the aftermath of 9-11. The firm also did work on the Indiana State Library Project.

State fair spokesman Andy Klotz says the commission is still reviewing evacuation procedures in the wake of the incident that killed five people and hurt 47 others. However, Klotz says personnel made the decision to order an evacuation three minutes before strong winds hit and took down the stage overhang.

Nacheman says his firm's probe will be completed by the end of the year.

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