Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tragedy at the Fair

Not a happy sharing today...

A tragedy has occured in my city.  It's made national news.  Most nights, our Indiana State Fair has a big concert.  Saturday night was Sugarland. 

Severe weather was heading toward the area.  An evacuation plan was in place and about to be carried out.  A gust of wind blew down the very heavily built up stage.

The videos and pictures are disturbing and scary.  The information flowing out through Twitter, Facebook, and various news sources happened at an intensely fast pace. 

Fatalities.  People calling in to share their stories.  People reporting being right by someone who died.  People reporting witnessing CPR being administered.  I'm praying for them tonight.

A missing child.  A 10 year old girl was unaccounted for.  She was found- she was unresponsive and transported to one hospital while her mom was taken to a different hospital.  At the time I'm typing this, parents were at her hospital and she was in surgery.  I can't imagine the terror of that family.  I'm praying for them tonight.

Triage centers set up on the Fairgrounds.  Jeff used to work for the Indiana Pork Producers every summer in their food tents at the Fair.  One of the tents is right across from the Grandstand and we watched it turn into a triage center. 

Nearby hospitals that are approved for this level of emergency were flooded with patients.  One hospital had to divert patients elsewhere for a while.

It's all still chaos right now.  Different stories, pictures, accounts. 

But some of the stories are pretty amazing.  The stage fell forward and people ran.  After it fell, hundreds ran back.  Groups of people worked together to lift steel off of victims.  Teams of strangers came together to lift giant speakers. 

Twitter and Facebook blew up with Hoosiers reporting what they were hearing on EMS (Emergency Management Services) scanners.  People were sharing prayers and thoughts.  The community sought to find a way to reach out to each other.

I've seen images of people who are dressed as though they were there to enjoy the concert but were donning gloves and working triage.  Reports from concert goers who are also nurses who leapt into action.  Reports that hospitals had immediate response of medical personnel showing up and sprinting into the building to work. 

12 ambulances were on site within 15 minutes.  Transportation was immediately in place to not only move the injured but to also transport the regular Fair-goers who needed to evacuate.

I have at least one friend that I first met more than a decade ago when I first started doing community theatre.  She works for the Fairgrounds and has since I met her.  I tweet with her - especially during the Fair.  As of this writing, I haven't seen anything from her. 

My prayers are with those who were there, those who were injured, those who lost loved ones.

My heart is also broken for my State Fair.  Anyone who reads my blog knows how much I love my Indiana State Fair.  It's like Christmas in August.  It's a time of year I look forward to all year long.  The people who work the Fair- it's a community that is now going to be hurting.  The people who regularly attend are a community that is now going to be hurting. 

I've been angry.  People pointing fingers.  People wondering if future concerts that were planned will still happen (like Janet Jackson).  People sensationalizing. 

And all I can do is pray.

Edit: I have heard from my friend who works at the Fairgrounds.  She was home for the evening when it happened.  I'll still be praying for her and her co-workers in the days and weeks ahead. 



Anonymous said...

Oh, Liz. I haven't watched any news tonight so this is the first I have heard. I am sad and so concerned for those hurt and worried. Please know your community will be prayed for.
Denise in Texas

Amanda said...

I saw an update from the band Mercy Me on Facebook and switched over to here to see if you had posted on it and also to know that you were okay. I'm so sorry for your towns losses, but what a blessing to have all those people there to jump in and help. Praying for your town.

Julie said...

Beautifully written Liz. We've been praying for everyone tonight.

Lori D said...

I too am praying for your community to recover as quickly as can be expected. It's truly a tragic story.

Valerie said...

How horrible! Back in July the same thing happened here at bluesfest during an F0 tornado. We were luckily that it injured only a handful. Such a tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with all those families.

Eternal Lizdom said...

Thank you.

Just an update- I did see a tweet from my friend that she was at home and had to watch things unfold on TV, just like the rest of us. She's safe but is devastated. I'm continuing my prayers for her and her co-workers.

Lola said...

I'm still crying this morning- it was just a terrible horrible accident that I truly don't know could have been prevented- but it is heartbreaking. And the history of the State Fair will be scarred by this for a very long time. I think they absolutely did the right thing by closing the fair today- but the remaining days of the fair will have this in the air above- and it is just so sad.

E Broadus Gregory said...

Liz - I am at a loss of words about what happened at our Indiana State Fair. You wrote what my heart feels. Continued prayers for everyone...

Garret said...

=( Terrible.

Call Me Cate said...

You were my first thought when I heard the news. The video of the collapse is horrifying. I can't imagine the fear.

But I'm so glad to hear of all the strangers who came together and people who switched gears to help those around them. My thoughts will be with everyone involved as the community and families begin the healing process.

Deborah said...

My daughter and her husband went to the concert and I am so thankful they came home safe. My hubby and I were babysitting for them (our grandson) when we saw what was happening on the news. SO tragic!

noexcuses said...

My heart aches for the families and friends of all who were involved. My thoughts and prayers are going out to everyone.

The wonderful thing one can count on about midwesterners is that they jump in to help after any disaster.

Thank you for sharing this story.

Katherine said...

What tragedy. There is nothing worse than taking something we have such positive associations with, and having something devastating happen to it. I will keep my thoughts with all those whose lives were affected by this.

Alison said...

The fair is supposed to be care-free, a bit of an escape from real life, an idealized America. How especially shocking to have reality stomp all over it in such a heartless and deadly way.

I hope your community recovers quickly from this tragedy. It sounds like the support is there to do so.