Large tents are used quite often for events held outdoors and few folks who attend these events imagine that any dangers or hazards may exist or develop. In fact, many event organizers fail to recognize that they could have legal exposure to folks who are injured on the premises. A recent incident in St. Louis, Mo., brings this problem area into focus. It appears that city officials must more closely scrutinize large tents that are commonly set up near downtown stadiums in St. Louis. This development comes after one of the temporary structures collapsed in high winds on April 28, resulting in the death of one man and dozens of persons being injured after a baseball game.
Sam Dotson, a spokesman for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, said it’s unclear if adequate regulations were in place and being followed or if the disaster was simply the result of people not paying attention to severe weather warnings. He said that the tent had been inspected, but that the city needs “to make sure there weren’t modifications to it.”
The fast-moving April storm ripped a large beer tent at Kilroy’s Sports Bar from its moorings and sent it and debris flying through the air about 80 minutes after the end of a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. Seventeen people in the tent were taken to hospitals and up to 100 of the 200 gathered were treated at the scene, which was near Busch Stadium. Questions about the tent’s safety — especially in dangerous weather — remain unanswered. According to the Building Commissioner, Kilroy’s was granted a tent permit on April 11th and the tent passed inspection a few days later.
The city of St. Louis requires tents to be able to withstand winds up to 90 mph. The wind gust that destroyed the tent — shattering the aluminum poles and blowing the structure onto nearby railroad tracks — was measured at over 70 mph. The city said that tents are not a safe place to be in bad weather and are “temporary structures.” They are certainly not designed to handle weather like that of April 28th. It was reported that it took about five seconds for the wind to lift the tent and send it and much of what was inside airborne. At press time, two lawsuits had been filed arising out of the tent collapse incident,
Source: Insurance Journal
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