One dead, dozens injured in theatre roof collapse as tornado rips through Illinois
One person has been killed and 28 others injured after the roof of a theatre in Illinois collapsed during a concert as a monster storm system including deadly tornadoes tore through the South and Midwest on Friday.
According to media reports the collapse occurred at the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere during a heavy metal concert. Belvidere is located about 70 miles (113km) northwest of Chicago.
According to Belvidere Fire Department chief Shawn Schadle, 260 people were at the concert venue when the roof collapsed.
#BREAKING Building Collapse in Belvidere, Illinois#Belvidere - #Illinois
Roof collapses after high winds swept through in the area. Band Morbid Angel scheduled to perform tonight. 3rd alarm, reporting as a Mass Casualty Incident. Multiple critical patients. pic.twitter.com/q0MCg7a0x2
— CaliforniaNewsWatch (@CANews_Watch) April 1, 2023
He said first responders also rescued someone from an elevator and had to deal with downed power lines outside the theatre.
The Belvidere Police Department said that calls began coming from the theater at 7.48pm.
Death metal bands Morbid Angel, Revocation, and Skeletal Remains were on the bill at the venue, reported CBS News.
"Chaos. Absolute chaos," Belvidere police Chief Shane Woody was quoted as saying.
"Everybody tried to like leave the whole venue through the fire door," one witness was quoted as saying to NBC 5.
"It was a lot of chaos, so I looked around and saw people in the rubble, and tried to help as many people as possible."
According to initial assessments the damage was caused by a tornado.
In a statement Illinois governor JB Pritzker has said that his administration is closely monitoring the incident.
"My administration is closely monitoring the roof collapse at the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere tonight," he wrote on Twitter.
My administration is closely monitoring the roof collapse at the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere tonight.
I’ve been in touch with officials for updates and to direct any available resources we can.
As we learn more, please follow the guidance of all local authorities.
— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) April 1, 2023
"I’ve been in touch with officials for updates and to direct any available resources we can.
"As we learn more, please follow the guidance of all local authorities."
Additional reporting by agencies