Illinois theater roof collapse reveals hurricane damage By Reuters

© Reuters. People react to the collapse of the roof of the Apollo Theater during a concert following a severe storm in Belvidere, Illinois, USA on March 31, 2023, in this still image obtained from a social media video. Anthony Nicosia/via REUTERS

Kanishka Singh and Ashraf Fahim

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A rock concert took place Friday night at the Apollo Theater in Belvidere, Illinois, and hundreds of people eagerly awaited a death metal evening to kick off the weekend.

What followed was “chaos, absolute chaos,” according to Belvidere Police Chief Shane Woody, when a violent storm brought down the roof half an hour after the show began with 260 people in the theatre.

A deadly tragedy sums up the sudden devastation left by recent tornadoes that swept across the US South and Midwest.

“The lights go out, I hear a noise. Everything is falling apart,” Jessica Hernandez, who was at the theater on Friday, told Reuters. Hernandez, 18, said her friends convinced her to go to the concert.

A man in his 50s died in the collapse and dozens were injured, officials said. According to ABC News, the deceased man was identified as Frederick Forest Livingston Jr. by his employer and sister.

More than 40 people were treated at local hospitals after the roof collapse incident, and most of the injuries included orthopedic, craniocerebral and neurological injuries, as well as soft tissue injuries, according to CBS News, citing a local doctor.

Death metal band Morbid Angel, who were scheduled to perform at the concert, wrote on their Facebook page (NASDAQ:) that the tornado “collapsed the roof over the front of the stage and the marquee.” The show was subsequently cancelled.

Scene footage cited by local media shows destruction inside the theater as officials and members of the public try to clear the rubble and rescue those who may have been trapped.

All people were registered, officials said on Saturday. Emergency workers eventually escorted the concert goers to safety.

In Illinois, three more people died in Crawford County in a residential building collapse, the state’s Emergency Management Agency said Saturday.

More than 20 people died and dozens were injured after a severe storm, accompanied by strong winds and heavy rains, swept through the southern and midwestern parts of the United States and headed east on Saturday.

The stormy weather comes a week after a swarm of thunderstorms unleashed a deadly tornado that devastated the town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, destroying many of the community’s 400 homes and killing 26 people.

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