Ceiling partially collapses during Minneapolis concert

August 13th, 2015 by Staff

MINNEAPOLIS — The ceiling of a landmark Minneapolis concert venue partially collapsed during a show late Wednesday night, injuring three people, officials said.

Firefighters responded to a report of a possible building collapse around 10:15 p.m., Minneapolis Fire Department spokeswoman Cherie Penn said in statement.

When firefighters arrived, they found patrons evacuating First Avenue, a downtown club. Firefighters inspected the venue and found that an approximately 30-by-30-foot section of the ceiling had given way, Penn said.

Two of the three people who were injured were taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center for further evaluation, Penn said.

A spokeswoman for HCMC told the Minneapolis Star Tribune the hospital treated three people, who were in satisfactory condition with injuries that were not life-threatening.

First Avenue General Manager Nathan Kranz said about 750 people were inside for a performance by the band Theory of a Deadman when the ceiling fell in. That also pulled down the building’s sprinkler pipe, he said.

Fire department crews shut off the water supply, Penn said. The scene was cleared and the building turned back over to management just after 11 p.m.

“We really have no idea how this could have possibly happened,” Kranz said, adding that the venue, which has been in operation for decades, will be closed Thursday so inspectors can evaluate the damage.

A source told CBS Minneapolis station WCCO-TV “reverberation of music” caused a leak in the pipes in the ceiling, and the tiles fell after becoming saturated with water.

“Mid-show, it seemed like the electricity went out on stage and the band stopped playing,” concertgoer Courtney Anderson told the station. “We heard a commotion and turned around to the back. Water was coming from the ceiling like rain and people were trying to stay out of it. People somewhat stampeded out of the way. It looked like a sprinkler was going off.”

Concertgoer Todd Johnson, of Elk River, told the newspaper the band had just finished its fourth song when the musicians suddenly ran offstage. Johnson said he saw part of the ceiling had fallen and water was streaming down. A second piece fell about a minute later, he said.

Another attendee, Delay Riser of White Bear Lake, said she saw smoke and heard screams but thought it was just part of the show.

The venue has hosted such performers as U2, Joe Cocker, Tina Turner and Prince, according to its website.

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