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First responder says gawkers got in the way

Jonathan Yakam, 26, from South Bend was one of the hundreds who risked their own safety to save others when the stage collapsed at the fair this weekend. Yakam says it was truly inspiring to see so many people pitching in but at the same time disturbing to see so many people just holding their cell phones.


Yakam said it all started Saturday morning as a normal trip to the Indiana State Fair. “I just woke up, got in the truck and couldn’t wait to get down to the concert.”

Yakam is a self-proclaimed ordinary guy, but on Saturday was one of hundreds of heros that did extraordinary things.

Right after the stage collapsed, crushing dozens of people, instead of running away, Yakam ran towards the wreckage. “A couple fair officials tried to stop me at the gate I said 'No, I’m going in there.' I just kind of shoved them out of my way. A little impolitely, but I think they understood why I had to get over there," said Yakam.

Yakum said the scene was out of a horror film. There were so many people screaming and gruesome injuries everywhere.

He says even more disturbing than his surroundings were all the people with their cell phones out taking video snapshots. “It kind of sickened me, I'm hearing people scream and people are recording video. You know it's like people are screaming and they need help. A normal human being wouldn’t be worried about their cell phone and capturing a video. Generally, I would think, (they) would want to help.”

Thankfully there were many like Yakam helping. He and other good sameritans at the concert pulled people from under the scafalding.

Its not a happy ending for Yakam. One of the victims he gave CPR to was one of the five who passed away from injuries that night. “It just lets us know how fragile life is," he said. "And how good we have it to be alive and take a breath everyday.”

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