BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — Thursday night, the Boone County Board recognized the job first responders had to do on March 31st when severe weather caused the Apollo Theater’s roof to collapse.
“That’s what first responders do. We risk a lot to save a lot. And that was definitely the case that night,” said Belvidere Fire Department Fire Chief Shawn Schadle.
On the last day of March, severe weather tore through the Stateline. Storms may have hit Belvidere the hardest. A tornado caused the roof of the Apollo Theater to collapse during a concert. One man died from the collapse. First responders sprang into action that evening saving lives.
Now they are being recognized for those efforts.
“They don’t expect this. But it does help with the healing. Obviously, we’re human. We saw some things that night that caused us to lose sleep because of some emotional issues. And so we’re healing, too. And so this helps with it. So that’s why it’s super important. That’s what first responders do,” Schadle said.
“This isn’t something that we expected or, you know, even why we do what we do. This is something that truly is. We appreciate the community recognizing the efforts that not only the first responders did, but the community as a whole, because ultimately it took all of us to accomplish what we did that night” said Police Chief for the City of Belvidere Shane Woody.
260 people were inside the Apollo Theater when the roof collapsed. It was a chaotic scene that most would run from, but first responders ran to it.
“We train for chaos and we expect it. And simply we try and bring order to chaos. And that’s how they responded that night. The first goal was truly to try and help those people search and rescue, trying to recover those people that were injured,” said Woody.
“First of all, everybody was accounted for and rescued out of that building in a fairly quick time. The second thing I’m extremely proud of is the huge response from area first responders, police and fire and EMS and ambulance agencies to make that happen,” said Schadle.
On the night of March 31st, 12 ambulances transported 26 people to the hospital due to injuries.
Chief Schadle tells me as of Tuesday all 26 have left the hospital and are home recovering.