HEALTH & SAFETY
Live events sector
New allegations have been made in the USA against the local police in Wood Dale, Illinois, after the death of one festival goer and injuries caused to nearly two dozen more at a suburban festival near Chicago which it is now said could have been prevented had the festival site been evacuated by the police ahead of a major storm.
Thirty-five-year-old Steven Nincic was killed when a tent collapsed at Prairie Fest on 2 August 2015. According to police communications obtained by the Chicago Tribune, Wood Dale Police Department was aware of the storm but decided against evacuating attendees to a nearby school, with which it had a “tentative agreement” to use the building for shelter.
A lawsuit on behalf of the victims – which also includes an 81-year-old woman, Lorraine Nocek, whose family claim later died of her injuries – states that the festival’s organisers shouldn’t have gathered visitors together under a poorly secured tent in the storm.
The tent was supplied by a firm called Classic Party Rentals.
“[Classic Party Rentals] supplied tents, tables and various equipment,” says the victims’ lawyer, Michael Progar, “but they obviously didn’t organise anything.” Classic Party Rentals has denied the claim.
Prairie Fest is organised by the office of the manager of the city of Wood Dale and a committee of officials, although the city itself is not a defendant in the lawsuit.