The roof at a historic Illinois concert venue collapsed during a concert Friday night, killing at least one person and injuring 28.
The tragedy unfolded at the Apollo Theater in Belvidere, Illinois about an hour into a 7 p.m. show that was slated to feature metal bands Morbid Angel, Revocation and Skeletal Remains.
Shortly before 8 p.m. as a powerful storm system ripped through the area, the venue’s roof and front awning came crashing down as roughly 260 people were in the building, WTVO reported, citing local fire officials.
First responders raced to the scene and began digging out victims from the rubble.
One person was confirmed dead and 28 others were transported to area hospitals for treatment, officials said.
Five of those transported had “severe injuries,” 18 had moderate injuries and five had minor injuries.
According to local reports, at least 20 ambulances were dispatched to the theater — which is located roughly 14 miles outside of the city of Rockford.
Social media footage showed a gaping hole through the venue’s roof while concertgoers attempted to free victims trapped under the pile of debris.
Roof collapses during concert by Morbid Angel at the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere, Illinois.— Crime With Bobby (@crimewithbobby) April 1, 2023
There are reports of multiple victims#morbidangel #apollotheatre #belvidere #illinois #tornado #storm #weather #breakingnews pic.twitter.com/ptmYoSkm4o
Morbid Angel revealed that a potential tornado struck the building.
“We ask anyone who is still traveling to the venue to please seek shelter and stay safe,” Morbid Angel said in a Facebook post. “We are currently sheltering in place, and want to extend our support and hope that everyone at the show tonight is safe. Right now our focus is on making sure everyone in the venue tonight is ok and gets home.”
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said that his administration was “closely monitoring the roof collapse” at the Apollo.
“I’ve been in touch with officials for updates and to direct any available resources we can,” he tweeted.
My administration is closely monitoring the roof collapse at the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere tonight.— 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.
Concert-goer Gabrielle Lewellyn told WTVO that she had only been inside the Apollo for a few minutes when the roof came down, crushing others beneath debris.
Theresa Best, of Woodstock, said she was on her way to the show when she got a call from her friends telling her what had happened.
She said she had other friends inside that she was not able to reach.
“The metal community is so nice, and my heart just aches for anybody who did lose their life,” Best told ABC Chicago. “I just hope all my friends are OK.”
The National Weather Service issued severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings for Belvidere, estimating wind gusts of 70 mph and quarter-sized hail.
The storms have left at least 103,000 people without power in the state as of Friday night, according to Poweroutage.us.
The Apollo Theater, which was built in 1921, bills itself as a “premiere music and event theater.”
The names of the bands predicted what would happen…