BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — One person was killed and dozens more injured at the Apollo Theater on Friday after a roof collapsed on concertgoers as a powerful storm and high winds swept through the area. The heavy metal band Morbid Angel was scheduled to perform.
Authorities said the victim was a 50-year-old man, later identified as Frederick Forest Livingston, Jr. according to ABC News.
Belvidere Fire Chief Shawn Schadle said two victims are said to have suffered life-threatening injuries.
Belvidere Fire Chief Shawn Schadle said in addition, ambulances transported two people who suffered severe injuries, 18 with moderate injuries, and 5 with minor injuries.
Mercyhealth Dr. Matt Smetana said more than 40 people arrived at local hospitals for treatment.
Event coordinators said approximately 260 people were in the venue at the time of the collapse. Authorities said everyone has been accounted for.
Friday night, Illinois Gov. J.B Pritzker tweeted: “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.”
A Twitter user posted video showing what appeared to be patrons attempting to rescue people from beneath a pile of rubble on the main floor.
A concert-goer, Gabrielle Lewellyn, told Eyewitness News she had only been inside the venue a few minutes before the storm hit and the roof collapsed. Multiple people were trapped under the rubble, she said.
The theater is located at 104. N. State Street.
A line of powerful storms swept through the Midwest with winds projected to reach up to 75 mph Friday night, downing power lines and trees throughout the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin region.
The storm entered Belvidere around 7:45 p.m.
At 8:52 p.m., a post was made to Morbid Angel’s Facebook account, saying: “Tonight’s show is Canceled due to a Tornado that hit the Venue. 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 making sure everyone in the venue tonight is ok and gets home.”
Morbid Angel is a nationally touring death metal band that was founded in 1983, releasing albums Altars of Madness (1989), Blessed Are the Sick (1991), and Covenant (1993).
Ads for the concert said opening acts Crypta, Skeletal Remains, and Revocation were also slated to perform.
At a Saturday morning press conference, officials said they believed a tornado was responsible for the damage. Medical authorities said a number of patients were brought to local emergency rooms suffering from blunt trauma and orthopedic injuries.
Authorities also said the music from the concert may have drowned out the sound of the tornado sirens.
Images captured by a viewer’s drone showed significant damage to the roof of the theater.
Officials said Saturday that a survey would be conducted of the building to determine if it can be salvaged.
The Apollo Theater has stood in Belvidere since 1921.