BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — Many parts of the Midwest are still reeling on Saturday morning from a destructive storm system that tore through several states and left multiple people dead and hundreds more injured.
In Illinois, when the roof collapsed at the Apollo Theater in Belvidere, where a concert with the heavy-metal band Morbid Angel was scheduled to take place.
At a Saturday morning press conference, officials said they believed a tornado was responsible for the damage. Medical authorities said a number of patients were brought to local emergency rooms suffering from blunt trauma and orthopedic injuries.
Belvidere Fire Chief Shawn Schadle said one person was killed and dozens more were injured.
Authorities later said the victim was a 50-year-old man. The victim’s family identified him as Frederick Forest Livingston, Jr. according to ABC News.
Around 260 people were in the venue when the storm hit, but officials said everyone is accounted for.
Illinois Gov. J.B Pritzker tweeted: “My administration is closely monitoring the roof collapse at the Apollo Theatre in Belvidere tonight. I’ve been in touch with officials for updates and to direct any available resources we can. As we learn more, please follow the guidance of all local authorities.”
“I literally just got into the building. I was in there within a minute before it came down,” concert-goer Gabrielle Lewellyn said. “The wind, when I was walking up to the building, it went from like, zero to a thousand within five seconds.”
Video shared to Twitter from inside the venue appeared to be patrons attempting to rescue people from beneath a pile of rubble on the main floor. Some screamed for help lifting large pieces of roofing and debris off of people they believed to be under the rubble.
“There was a bunch of people that went over, and they lifted a piece of the ceiling off of whoever was under there, and … those people should be … commemorated,” Lewellyn said, becoming emotional. “Those people deserve recognition for what they did.”
Facebook user Jayme Carlson shared video from his Ring camera showing an apparent funnel cloud near the Belvidere Walmart.
The National Weather Service has not confirmed the strength of the storm, but said a tornado touched down 6 miles north of Forreston, in Ogle County, destroying several farm buildings.
There were more confirmed twisters in Iowa and wind-whipped grass fires blazed in Oklahoma, as the storm system threatened a broad swath of the country home to some 85 million people.