As Brazilian death metal band Crypta finished a set at the Illinois Theater on Friday, the venue made an announcement: The show would be suspended for half an hour due to dangerous weather outside.
A few minutes later, the roof caved in.
“At first, I was confused because it felt like an earthquake, and I was like, ‘Why is there an earthquake now?’ That’s what I was thinking,” said Chris Bryant, 39, an audience member at the concert who escaped injury. Apollo Theatre in Belvidere, Ill.
“As soon as it happened, I saw the entire roof collapse on everyone right where we were standing,” he added.
At least one person was killed and 40 others injured in the roof collapse at the Apollo, Boone County Emergency Management Director Dan Sagard said. told reporters in A press conference on Saturday morning.
It could have been a lot worse. Belvidere Fire Chief Shawn Schadl said Friday that 260 people were inside the building; that the awning in front of it had also collapsed; And at the same time emergency crews in the area dealt with an electrical fire behind the scene, multiple gas leaks and an elevator rescue.
“Many, many ambulances,” he said He told reporters at the scene Flashing red lights from nearby fire engines bounced off his uniform. “Many, many responders.”
Chief Shadle said everyone at the scene was accounted for and emergency personnel were “looking at stabilizing the building.” Apollo hosted various concerts Vaudeville and MariachiSince the 1920s.
The roof collapsed BelvedereThe city of about 25,000 people, located less than 90 miles from both Chicago and Milwaukee, was one of several dangerous weather-related episodes across the American South and Midwest on Friday.
A deadly storm system killed at least 20 people in Arkansas, Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi and Tennessee and injured at least 30 in Little Rock, Ark. alone.
Belvidere was located in an area that experienced strong winds Friday night, and was one of several states in Illinois that had residents across the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Under a high wind warning Saturday dawned. But it was not immediately clear whether the roof collapsed due to the cyclone or bad weather. The National Weather Service said only that Apollo was affected.Potential hurricane damage.”
Whatever the reason, the decline was so unexpected that it left some observers “stunned to not know what to do,” said Mr. Bryant said.
“I stood there for 10 seconds before I realized there was a crowd under the roof,” he said.
Footage circulating on social media shows people inside the concert hall trying to find people under the rubble. Mr. Bryant said he helped rescue about five people and then told firefighters to prioritize victims.
“A few minutes later, I saw the guy who was standing next to me during the concert,” he added. “They had a sheet over him.”
None of the composers could immediately be reached for comment after the disaster, but Krypta said on Instagram That they are all safe.
Mr. As for Bryant, he was still processing what happened.
“The guy I was standing next to is dead, and I’m sitting at home, comfortable in my bed,” he said over the phone. “So it’s definitely surreal.”
Emily Cochrane Contributed report.