Emergency crews have been called to The Apollo Theatre in Belvidere, Illinois after a powerful storm carrying high winds reportedly caused the roof to collapse in the middle of heavy metal band, Morbid Angel’s sold-out concert on Friday evening (Mar. 31).
According to several Illinois-based news reports, the venue’s awning and roof collapsed as well as the floor inside the Apollo Theatre. The collapse happened less than an hour into the band’s performance, and many concertgoers are reportedly trapped inside beneath the rubble of the collapsed structures.
Several trees nearby the venue also came down on cars, causing major damages to vehicles.
The Chicago Fire Department allegedly requested 20+ ambulances to report to the scene, CBS News reported.
Many news outlets are labeling the incident a “mass casualty event.” One death has been reported thus far and multiple individuals were seen being evacuated from the venue on stretchers via paramedics. Of the injured five people were taken to a nearby hospital with severe wounds, and at 23 others needed assistance with minor to moderate injuries related to the catastrophic event.
A post shared via Twitter shows crews working through the rubble to find and rescue victims on what appears to be the main floor.
“Stay with me, okay?” The person behind the camera can be heard saying. “I am not losing you.”
The structure collapse and downed trees and power lines are a result of severe storms that occurred on Friday (March 31) evening, bringing 90+ mph winds to the area and the Midwest. The venue is located on 104. N. State Street in Boone County, about 72 miles from Chicago. And, according to event coordinators, at least 260 people were inside the 1,500 capacity venue at the time of the collapse.
Fans and authorities on social media are saying to stay away from the area. In addition, Illinois Gov. J.B Pritzker took to Twitter to let folks in the surrounding area know that the “administration is closely monitoring” the situation.
“My administration is closely monitoring the roof collapse at the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere tonight,” he tweeted. “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.”
Twitter users also took to social media to share their thoughts and prayers in the wake of the collapse.
“To those who were at the Apollo Theatre, WOW I hope you’re all alright,” one person wrote.
“Sending love to everyone affected by the roof collapse during the Morbid Angel concert at the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere tonight. My heart goes out to the metal community there,” another person tweeted.
A third user added, “Sending thoughts to everyone in Belvidere, IL tonight — partial roof collapse at Apollo Theatre during a sold out Morbid Angel concert due to bad storms. One person has passed and dozens injured. Locals question if a small tornado touched down at one point.”
“*ATTENTION* Tonights show is Canceled due to a Tornado that hit the Venue,” Morbid Angel wrote on Facebook, updating their fans on the situation. “We ask anyone who is still traveling to the venue to please seek shelter and stay safe. 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. – MA.”
In addition to Morbid Angel, the concert, which kicked off at 7:00p.m., also featured performances from Revocation and Skeletal Remains.
Founded in 1983, Morbid Angel is a touring death metal band that has released several albums, including Altars of Madness (1989), Blessed Are the Sick (1991), and Covenant (1993). The band currently consists of members Trey Azagthoth, Steve Tucker, Scott Fuller and Dan Vadim Von.
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