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One killed, dozens injured when roof collapses at Apollo Theatre in Belvidere amid severe


BELVIDERE, Ill. (CBS) — The roof and marquee collapse Friday evening amid severe weather during a concert at the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere, Illinois.

One person was killed in the collapse, officials confirmed. Another 28 were injured.

Belvidere Fire Chief Shawn Schadle said five people were rushed from the scene with severe injuries, 18 with moderate injuries, and five more with minor injuries.

Others likely found their own way to the hospital.

The collapse was reported as severe storms with 90 mph winds blew through.  

The sold-out concert began at 7 p.m. Death metal bands Morbid Angel, Revocation, and Skeletal Remains were on the bill at the venue.

The collapse happened about 30 minutes into the concert. The first call came in as a mass-casualty collapse.

About 260 people were inside the theater for the concert – including the crowd, the staff, and the bands, Schadle said. The capacity of the theater is around 1,500.

Video from the scene showed the marquee collapsed to the ground, as did a large portion of the large bowstring truss roof.

Bricks were also seen lying in the middle of the street. Some debris landed on nearby cars.

Inside the theater, the ceiling right in front of the proscenium collapsed – leaving the space open to the outside with lightning flashing. People were likely gathered in front of the stage at the time.


Roof collapses during concert at Belvidere’s Apollo Theatre amid storms

Illinois state Rep. Dave Vella (D-Loves Park) said he was out to dinner with his wife in nearby Rockford, and rushed to Belvidere once he found out about the collapse.

“It’s just horrific what’s happened. Apollo Theatre is one of the heritage places around here, and this damage is just heartbreaking,” Vella said.

Vella said the freak storm caused severe damage in a small area.

“Rockford is only about 10 minutes away, and we didn’t get much,” Vella said.

Social media video from witness Mike Winters showed people stepping in to help after the roof and ceiling collapsed. There were reports that people were still trapped hours after the collapse, but Vella said by 10 p.m., everyone had been cleared from the building.

A Chicago Fire Department source said there was a request for 20 ambulances. Multiple police and fire departments were sent to the scene. 

No first responders were injured, Schadle said.

Vella said hundreds of people were at the concert, and a lot of scared family members were at the scene late Friday.

“This was a huge storm that hit this area, and I tell you, we as a community have been hit hard by a lot of economic stuff right now,” Vella said. “This was not a great time for this.”

Schadle said the MABAS 8 Technical Rescue Team remained at the scene as of the 10 p.m. hour, both conducting secondary searches and working on stabilizing the building.

Belvidere is located in Boone County, about 72 miles from Chicago.  

The Apollo is located at 104 N. State St. at the north end of the Belvidere Business District.

According to Cinema Treasures, the Apollo Theatre opened in 1921 as a stage play, movie, and vaudeville venue. It has been a live music venue caked the Apollo Theatre AC for the past several years.



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