UPDATED: Palos Hills Friendship Fest Tents Collapse, Workers Injured
Tents began to collapse around 8:40 a.m. Monday morning at the site of this weekend's Palos Hills Friendship Fest, sending several workers to the hospital.
In an instant the sky grew dark, the rain began and the wind picked up.
About 15 to 20 workers were taking down tents Monday morning after this weekend’s Palos Hills Friendship Fest when poles began to blow over and tents started to collapse.
Jon White, a Palos Hills Public Works employee, was under the largest of the tents when it began to fall.
“It got dark really fast, started to rain one corner of the tents came down and we all started to run,” White said. “It was very scary.”
Workers on the scene said several people were rushed to the hospital.
The site of the fest, 10900 S. 88th Ave., is strewn with half standing tents, tipped over tables and chairs as well as a knocked over row of Port-a Johns.
UPDATED 10:11 a.m.: According to a release from Moraine Valley Community College, six workers sustained minor injuries and were transported to either Palos Community Hospital or Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn. No Moraine faculty or staff were injured.
UPDATED 10:45 a.m.: Chief Patrick O'Connor of Moraine Valley Community College's Police Department says the injuries sustained by workers do not initially appear to be serious.
"Most were released at the scene, all were speaking when they were transported," O'Connor said.
The fest sits on Moraine Valley property.
Mayor Gerald Bennett said the fest was coming off a record year with attendance hitting an all-time high. About 8,000 visitors walked through the fest grounds on Sunday alone.
"We like to make sure we get the grounds cleaned up right away," Bennett said. "That is why they were out bright and early."
Bennett said other areas of Palos Hills also sustained some storm damage including downed trees.
"Harlem Avenue is a mess," Bennett said.
Bennett says the injuries were the result of the fact that the tent was already partially dismantled when the winds struck. The tents that had not yet been touched were in fairly stable condition, Bennett said.
Bennett said he believes two of the workers injured were public works employees.
A sherriff's officer was also injured on the scene, O'Connor said.
UPDATED 1:43 p.m.: Two of the of the injured workers were from the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program (SWAP) and another is the Cook County Sherriff's Office deputy who was supervising them, according to a statement from the Sherriff's Office.
Seven SWAP workers were on the scene at the time working. The two workers and the deputy are expected to be released from the hospital today, according to the release.