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Food vendor to coroner: Indy woman’s worlds collided the night the Indiana State Fair stage collapsed

“It changes your perspective on everything”
Alfie McGinty
Posted at 7:55 AM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 17:10:37-04

INDIANAPOLIS – The games, crowds, food, and fun consume Alfie McGinty’s August days. She can be found at her family’s food truck across from the DNR Building at the Indiana State Fair chatting with customers about the menu.

McGinty was not supposed to run her family business, but things happen and years later she is running the food truck her dad started, ‘Gobble, Gobble.’

"It has been a big growth for our family,” McGinty said.

The state fair is the only event for the food truck, and a family tradition. 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the food truck.

McGinty’s role at the Indiana State Fair is a total switch from her day job as the Marion County Chief Deputy Coroner.

"I have a passion for helping and assisting families who are dealing with grief and loss. That's the first thing, that's my first priority. The food truck is the second priority,” McGinty said.

She continued, “We have one of those unique jobs where you have to turn it on and you have to turn it off, but still have compassion.”

Work always calls and McGinty always answers. That statement was no different the night of the stage collapse.

"All of a sudden there was the collapse that we could actually see, not knowing that people were still in the area,” McGinty said.

The food truck has parked in the same spot for the last 20 years with a clear view of the grandstands from behind the truck. Within a matter of moments 10 years ago, McGinty went from chef to coroner.

"I stopped at my car to see what I had in the car and then just walked straight on over,” McGinty said while standing at the back of her food truck lot.

She said once she heard there were injuries, she knew there was a possibility of death. It was not long before she knew several lost their lives.

"I absolutely had to turn off the family business, shut that down and really just go to work and conduct death investigations for that tragic day, that is so sad, still stuck in my head,” McGinty said.

The Chief Deputy Coroner said the experience of that night and the investigations that followed completely changed the way she does both jobs.

"It changes your perspective on everything. It changes your perspective on understanding and knowing at any time, anything can happen,” McGinty said.

While McGinty looks forward to the fair every year, she also takes time to remember the lives lost 10 years ago.

"Looking back my only hope was that we were able to help those families,” she said.