First Avenue closed for at least 2 days after ceiling collapse injures 3


First Avenue will remain closed as it works with structural engineers to assess the damage caused when part of the ceiling collapsed during a concert Wednesday night.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the fabled venue has said the Mainroom, Record Room, 7th St. Entry and The Depot Tavern will be closed for at least Thursday and Friday and shows planned for those dates canceled.

"We're working with City Inspectors and structural engineers to discover the reason this happened and how best to reopen safely," it said, adding: "We look forward to reopening as soon as possible."

KSTP reports that three people were injured when the ceiling fell in the Mainroom during a Theory of a Deadman concert at around 10:15 p.m., with two requiring treatment at Hennepin County Medical Center.

In its statement, First Avenue said its "thoughts and hearts are with those who were injured," adding that it is "proud" of the venue's history, dedication to Twin Cities music, and "the care with which we maintain the building."

It is not known at this stage whether the venue will re-open in time for Saturday night, when it hosts Grammy-winning R&B star Miguel, whose show is sold-out.

Video footage shows ceiling chunks fall

The Star Tribune reports that witnesses said the band had just finished performing a song when the musicians quickly left the stage; they saw that a chunk of the ceiling had fallen and water was streaming onto the floor.

About a minute later, a second, larger chunk fell to the floor. Staff then evacuated everyone from the building, according to the newspaper.

First Avenue's general manager Nate Kranz told the Current about 800 people were in the Main Room at the time. A smaller crowd was in the Entry for another event.

Here are a couple of videos that show what happened.

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Kranz told the Current a large chunk of the ceiling toward the back of the Main Room "became separated from the beams in the ceiling and fell, taking out the sprinkler pipes," and that resulted in the water leaking onto the floor.

The portion that collapsed was over the balcony DJ booth at the back of the dance floor, Kranz told the Star Tribune.

The water was shut off to the ceiling pipes and the fire department cleared the scene about 11:15 p.m. after making sure the building was structurally sound, the fire department tweeted.

The building that houses First Avenue was built in 1936. It's been used as a music venue since 1970.

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