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3 Injured After Part Of Ceiling Collapses At First Avenue In Mpls.

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Three people were hurt at legendary rock club First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis Wednesday evening after part of the ceiling collapsed.

The collapse happened around 10:15 p.m. during a "Theory of a Deadman" concert.

"To see the ceiling collapse and pipes come down and people get hurt, it's kind of scary. It's disbelief," one concert goer told WCCO.

"I thought somebody was spraying champagne or something like that, and all of a sudden some of the ceiling came down and hit myself," concert goer Vic Machen said.

Concertgoers posted video to Twitter and Facebook of the collapse and the aftermath.

A source said the "reverberation of music" caused a leak in the pipes of the ceiling, and the tiles fell down after becoming saturated with water.

Home Video Of First Avenue Roof Collapse
(credit: Elsa Martinez)

First came the collapse, then the commotion.

"Mid-show, it seemed like the electricity went out on stage and the band stopped playing," Courtney Anderson said. "We heard a commotion and turned around to the back."

According to the Minneapolis Assistant Chief of Administration, a 30' by 30' section of lathe and plaster ceiling collapsed and fell on the crowd during the show.

Concertgoers said water poured from the ceiling like rain. Witnessed said everyone quickly worked their way out of First Ave.; similar to a stampede.

But, there were some who stayed behind to make sure others were okay.

"The water pipe came down from the ceiling and it was like water was pouring out, pouring all over people, and they were pulling the ceiling off," concert goer Ben Strumberger said. "So we're trying to figure out if there was anyone underneath it."

"About four guys and myself helped lift this big piece of ceiling off. We didn't know if anyone was down there or not," Machen said. "It took four of us to lift it and we're all pretty big guys. And then we got it off this pile and this girl was underneath."

Three to four concertgoers were injured and the building was evacuated.

Two people were transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center for evaluation.

When the Minneapolis Fire Department arrived on the scene, crews shut off water flow to the pipes in the ceiling, attended to the injured and evaluated the stability of the building.

Aftermath Of First Avenue Roof Collapse
(credit: CBS)

The legendary music venue is where Prince spent a lot of time in the 80s, it even served as the set for his 1984 movie Purple Rain.

Minneapolis officials said all the damage was contained to the stage area of the club. It is unclear when it will reopen. However, the restaurant will be allowed to reopen once the fire sprinkler system can be restored.

According to First Ave's website shows for Thursday, Friday and Saturday night have been cancelled.

Friday's show, a CD release concert featuring Ginstrings, Tin Can Gin and Way Down Wanderers was moved to Takin' Time in Clearwater. On Saturday, Miguel was scheduled to perform for a sold-out crowd. That has show has been moved to the State Theatre.

City building inspectors were on site at First Avenue Thursday morning. They met with the owner's structural engineer to determine the cause of the collapse.

The inspectors will also be requiring evaluation of the structure and reaming ceiling.

Building official Patrick Higgins First Avenue was last inspected in 2013 and met all codes.

First Avenue made a statement on Twitter saying, "We're working with city inspectors and structural engineers to discover the reason this happened and how best to reopen safely. First Avenue, Entry, Record Room & The Depot will close Thursday, August 13 and Friday, August 14 to assess the cause of the incident. Our thoughts and hearts are will those who were injured."

The building will reopen once the ceiling is demolished, the sprinkler system is repaired and everything is reinspected.


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