One dead and 28 hurt after theatre roof collapses during concert
AT least one person has died and 28 others are injured after a roof collapsed during a concert on Friday night.
First responders rushed to the scene of the “mass casualty” event after severe weather caused the collapse at the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere, Illinois.
Heavy metal band Morbid Angel began performing for a crowd of 260 people at 7pm.
About 30 minutes into the concert, a call came in about the collapse and multiple injuries.
Concertgoers were seen being evacuated from the ruins on stretchers as they waited for ambulances outside.
The area, located about 70 miles northwest of Chicago, was hit with brutal winds as a series of storms wreaked havoc on the United States on Friday.
The theater’s marquee and façade crashed onto the street and a video posted on Twitter appeared to show chaos inside the building, with a fire alarm sounding as people screamed for help.
Some attendees were seen trying to lift massive pieces of rubble to free trapped victims as the person taking the video hoped a friend wasn’t underneath the stage.
“I’m not leaving you,” the person can be heard saying.
A large group of people hovered behind yellow tape as first responders closed in on the scene.
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The Belvidere Fire Department later said that one person died in the devastation.
Five of the 28 surviving victims were severely injured, authorities said.
Outside the theater, bricks from the building could be seen strewn across the road alongside damaged cars that were hit by more debris.
The band released a statement announcing that the concert had been canceled “due to a tornado that hit the venue.”
“We ask anyone who is still traveling to the venue to please seek shelter and stay safe,” Morbid Angel wrote, while adding that they were sheltering in place.
“Right now our focus is on making sure everyone in the venue tonight is OK and gets home.”
Severe weather was due in the area, with strong winds reaching up to 90mph, CBS News reported.
The strong storms sent trees crashing down onto cars nearby, according to initial reports.
The theater opened in 1921 to show stage plays and movies and has been used for live shows in recent years.