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A concertgoer died and 48 others were injured when the roof of a theater collapsed when a strong storm and a tornado hit the building on March 31. Winds reached more than 90 mph during the storm, causing extensive damage in and around Belvidere, Illinois, a small town about 70 miles northwest of Chicago.
About 260 concertgoers at the Apollo Theatre were pelted with debris as the bowstring truss roof collapsed during a scene witnesses described as “absolute chaos,” according to the Chicago Tribune. The building’s marquee was also blown off the front of the structure. The roof collapsed about 30 minutes into the concert.
Many concertgoers immediately pitched into begin removing debris from those who were trapped, according to witnesses.
A building across the street from the Apollo Theatre was also severely damaged in the storm. Town officials are currently assessing the structural stability of the historic theater to determine whether it can be salvaged and repaired.
The roof has reportedly been replaced twice in the last 25 years, according to the Washington Post.
Greg Zimmerman is senior contributing editor for FacilitiesNet.com and Building Operating Management magazine.
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