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MN State Fair Officials Respond To Stage Safety Concerns

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(credit: CBS) Susie Jones
Susie Jones has been with WCCO Radio since 1996. She started as a...
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FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — The Indiana State Fair is reopening, following a memorial service for the five people killed Saturday night when a wind gust toppled a stage.

But could such a tragedy happen at the Minnesota State Fair?

Jerry Hammer is the general manager of the Fair and said weather can happen anywhere.

“I’d love to say nope that can’t happen here, but they can happen anyplace and the best example we have is in 2007 when it did happen here,” said Hammer. “Fortunately it was prior to the fair and there was nobody around.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Susie Jones Reports

There was extensive damage to several buildings on the fairgrounds in 2007 but there were no injuries.

Hammer said they have emergency plans in place in the event of severe weather.

“We have very detailed plans for various situations, for weather, for behavior, for transportation,” Hammer said.

Just last year, an accident outside the fairgrounds knocked out power for most of the day.

“We’ve got plenty of experience. I wish I could say we didn’t but we do. And things happen and our staff is very good, and public safety is something we are all concerned with,” Hammer said.

Hammer also said his heart goes out to the families of those killed at the Indiana State Fair accident and to his counter parts at the fair.

“We all know each other. At all of the fairs in North America, there’s a fraternity you could say,” said Hammer.

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