First Avenue ceiling collapses; several hurt

Downtown Minneapolis nightclub First Avenue was evacuated late Wednesday after portions of the ceiling collapsed on audience members.


Two of the injured were taken to a local hospital, though firefighters say none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

Video footage showed the moment two sections of the ceiling at the First Avenue club collapsed, sending chunks of concrete crashing on to the dance floor and DJ booth.

Shortly before the ceiling collapsed, parts of the railing began to shake, according to one person who attended the First Avenue concert. The club opened in 1970, and was most notably featured in concert scenes filmed for Prince’s Purple Rain movie.

Authorities would not release the names of the three persons taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, citing HIPAA federal patient privacy rules. At first some people thought the water was coming from the sprinkler system, but there was too much for that to be the source. A second piece fell about a minute later, he said. Fire inspector Kris Johnson said the building is on a five-year inspection cycle, but that normal inspections wouldn’t have caught any structural problems with the ceiling unless they spotted something obvious like sagging. The Minneapolis Fire Department said it shut off water flow to the pipes in the ceiling and was evaluating the integrity of the building.

Saturday’s sold-out Miguel show at the Mainroom, with special guest Dorothy, remained on the books at post time.


“You heard the big crash and I felt something fall on my shoulder”, Jonathan Elgard of Crystal told KARE. “First Avenue is one of my favorite places to go in the whole world”.

First Avenue