Theater roof collapses: 1 killed and 28 injured as storms rock Chicago area
CHICAGO - The roof of the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere, Illinois collapsed Friday night as severe weather swept through the Chicago area, killing one person and injuring dozens of others.
According to reports, a concert was going on at the theater when the roof collapsed. Seven EMS agencies responded to the scene and 28 people were transported to area hospitals by emergency responders.
One person was killed, and 40 others were injured – two people with life-threatening injuries, two more with severe injuries, 18 with moderate injuries and five with minor injuries. Some of the injured individuals self-transported to area hospitals.
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A 50-year-old man was pronounced dead on scene, according to Boone County officials. The deceased was found under the debris, officials believe other concert goers pulled him out before emergency responders arrived.
Boone County officials provided an update on the incident Saturday morning. Dan Zaccard, Emergency Management Director for the county, said a tornado touched down in the city of Belvidere.
There was a tornado warning siren at 7:24 p.m. Emergency personnel were called to the roof collapse at 7:47 p.m. Belvidere Fire Department, located two blocks away from the Apollo, responded within minutes.
Belvidere, Illinois roof collapse (WBBM)
Video from the scene shows people pulling debris off the venue floor to check if anyone was trapped underneath.
Video also shows individuals being taken out of the venue on stretchers and loaded into ambulances.
Belvidere Fire Department Chief Shawn Schadle said 260 people were in the venue at the time. He said first responders also rescued someone from an elevator and had to grapple with downed power lines outside the theater.
Belvidere Police Chief Shane Woody described the scene after the collapse as "chaos, absolute chaos."
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According to an online search, death metal bands were booked to play the venue Friday night. The bands were: Revocation, Morbid Angel, and Skeletal Remains.
Morbid Angel put out a statement, saying in part: "Tonights show is Canceled due to a Tornado that hit the Venue…We are currently sheltering in place, and want to extend our support and hope that everyone at the show tonight is safe."
A band was reportedly playing on stage at the time of the collapse. The venue is the type of scene where a crowd would be standing in front of the stage as the show was performed. Video shows the roof directly above the standing area collapsed.
The Apollo Theatre and a building across the street have been condemned. Structural engineers will assess the buildings Saturday afternoon. State Street remains closed for debris clean-up.
Apollo Theatre released a statement Saturday morning about the incident:
"First and foremost all of the staff and management of the Apollo Theatre would like to express our deepest condolences to the victims and their families from last night's tragedy. The storm and severe winds reaped havoc on our community and we are still processing this devastation."
"We are currently working with the town, first responders, state representatives, and government officials to figure out how to move forward."
Belvidere is located about 70 miles northwest of Chicago.
Associated Press contributed to this report.