Officials: 3 hurt in Minneapolis concert ceiling collapse

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — 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 club in downtown. Firefighters inspected the venue and found that an approximately 30-by-30-foot section of the ceiling had given way during a concert, Penn said.

Three people were injured, and two 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.

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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