NPR : News

Filed Under:

Dozens Hurt In Ceiling Collapse At London's Apollo Theatre

(This post was updated at 6:00 p.m. ET)

London's emergency services personnel say 88 people have been injured, several of them seriously, in the collapse of part of the ceiling at the Apollo Theatre in central London during an evening performance. Officials say there have been no fatalities.

Emergency services officials tell news agencies that seven of those are seriously hurt. The BBC quotes a spokesman for the theater as saying 720 theatergoers were in attendance at the time of the collapse.

Nick Harding from London Fire Brigade said plaster from an area about "10 meters by 10 meters" (30 feet by 30 feet) fell to the floor of the theater.

The Associated Press reports:

"Police said officers were called at around [8:15 London time] (3:15 p.m. ET) to reports of a ceiling collapse at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftsbury Avenue in central London.

"London's fire department said eight engines are on the scene in the SoHo neighborhood."

The BBC said the theater was "packed":

"An eyewitness said she heard 'a crackling' noise before the collapse. ... Another eyewitness said the 'entire dome roof' fell on audience members seated in the stalls."

The audience was watching The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a play based on the novel by Mark Haddon, at the time of the collapse.

The BBC quotes a 29-year-old audience member, who only gave his name as Ben, as saying: "It was about halfway through the first half of the show, and there was a lot of creaking. ... There was dust everywhere, everybody's covered in dust. We got out fairly quickly; I think everyone was quite panicked," he said.

Reuters reports that theatergoers were injured by falling masonry. One of its reporters says emergency vehicles have blocked off the street leading to the Apollo.

"I think the front part of the balcony fell down," Martin Bostock, who was in the audience, told Sky Television. "It was hard to see anything through the dust."

The Apollo Theatre was built in 1901 and has 775 seats, according to the AP, which adds:

"London was hit by a freak thunderstorm about 7 p.m. that dumped heavy rain on the city, but it wasn't immediately clear if that was related to the collapse."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'We're Mostly Republicans': New Hampshire Voters Explained By 'Our Town'

After NPR's Bob Mondello used The Music Man to help explain the Iowa caucuses, he wished there was a musical of Our Town so he could do the same for New Hampshire. It turns out there is one.
NPR

Gulf Of Mexico Open For Fish-Farming Business

For the first time, companies can apply to set up fish farms in U.S. federal waters. The government says the move will help reduce American dependence on foreign seafood and improve security.
WAMU 88.5

What's Behind Trends In U.S. Violent Crime Rates

Violent crime rates in the U.S. have dropped dramatically over the last twenty years, but FBI data suggest there was a slight uptick in the first half of last year: What led to the remarkable long-term decline in violent crime in the last two decades in U.S. and prospects the trajectory can continue.

WAMU 88.5

Blocked: Twitter's Role In Combating Violent Extremism

Over the course of seven months, Twitter has suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.