Fact vs. Theory: A special case

The ceiling collapsed during a performance at the famous Minneapolis rock venue First Avenue on Wednesday evening. Star Tribune rock critic Jon Bream and two other reporters covered the story of the ceiling collapse here. The story is no joke; the ceiling collapse sent three people to the hospital. Bream and his colleagues reported:

A 30-foot-by-30-foot section gave way during a concert about 10 p.m., the Minneapolis Fire Department said.

“A large portion of the ceiling fell and took out water pipes with it,” said Nate Kranz, First Avenue general manager. “We have no idea why or how it happened. We won’t know anything about this until tomorrow. It was a terrible surprise.”

Kranz said a couple of people were taken out by ambulance. Hennepin County Medical Center spokeswoman Christine Hill said three people were brought into the emergency room and are in satisfactory condition with non-life-threatening injuries.

The ceiling that collapsed was over the balcony DJ booth at the back of the dance floor, Kranz said. A section fell onto the floor about midway through the headlining set by Canadian metal band Theory of a Deadman. The show was stopped, and the 1,000 or so fans were immediately evacuated. Fire crews responding to the club shut off water to the area, the Fire Department said.

As the reporters note, the name of the band performing at the time of the ceiling collapse is Theory of a Deadman, yet the instinct for self-preservation prevailed:

Todd Johnson, of Elk River, was at the concert with his family and said the band had just finished its fourth song, when the musicians suddenly ran offstage.

Then he saw that a part of the ceiling had fallen and water was streaming from the ceiling.

About a minute later a second piece of the ceiling fell, he said. At first some people thought the water was coming from the sprinkler system, but there was too much for that to be the source.

Jennifer Johnson said the second piece that fell was twice as big as the first, prompting some screams from the crowd.

Denay Riser, of White Bear Lake, said there was smoke everywhere and some screaming, but she didn’t think anything of it at first because she thought it was part of the show.

At that point, said Nathan Boyd, the staff advised everybody to walk out. The evacuation was orderly, he said.

Well, this was a Minnesota crowd. The story is no joke, but it does have a comic element. What we have here is a case of Fact versus Theory of a Deadman.