MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A 30-by-30 portion of ceiling of the iconic First Avenue concert venue in downtown Minneapolis collapsed during a Theory of a Deadman show Wednesday night, injuring at least 3 people.
Witnesses said they saw water dripping from the ceiling before part of ceiling came crashing down over the balcony at the back of the dance floor midway through the concert. The show was stopped and about 1,000 people were immediately evacuated from the venue as a second piece of ceiling came down just minutes later.
3 people injured
Minneapolis Fire Department officials said crews arrived First Avenue at 10:15 p.m. to a crowd of people herding out of the nightclub. Firefighters discovered the section of lathe and plaster ceiling had given way, shut off the water supply and treated 3 people for their injuries. One was treated on-scene, and two were transported to Hennepin County Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries. Fire crews cleared the scene shortly after 11 p.m.
First Avenue statement
"We're working with City Inspectors and structural engineers to discover the reason this happened and how best to reopen safely. Our thoughts and hearts are with those who were injured.
"We're proud of our history, dedication to the Twin Cities music community, and the care with which we maintain the building. The Depot Tavern, 7th St Entry, Record Room, and Mainroom will be closed Thursday, August 13 and Friday, August 14 as we assess the situation. We look forward to reopening as soon as possible. Stay tuned for more information."
No show Friday, Saturday in question
The venue will be shut down on Thursday and inspectors will take a closer look to determine how it fell. There are no bands slated to play on Thursday, but a pair of weekend shows could be in jeopardy; Friday's show featuring bluegrass group Ginstrings was canceled. Saturday's sold-out Miguel show remains in question.
First Avenue inspection record
According to the city of Minneapolis, the most recent commercial licensing inspection of the venue at 501 1st Avenue was in 2013 and zero violations were found.
"City inspectors are in the building frequently due to the nature of the use and occupancy load and also for various building permits," city spokesman Matt Lindstrom said in a statement to Fox 9. "While they are in the building they do look for any visible issues such as loose wiring, tilting columns, water damage, etc. and will write orders if violations are found."