First Avenue Temporarily Closed Following Ceiling Collapse

Minneapolis’ First Avenue is closed through Friday while the venue cleans up and evaluates the damage of Wednesday’s partial ceiling collapse. A portion of the ceiling fell during a Theory of a Deadman show, knocking down the fire sprinklers and injuring three people.

The incident occurred around 10 p.m., just after Theory of a Deadman had finished playing its fourth song, according to the Star Tribune. The 30-by-30 foot section of ceiling that fell is located over the balcony DJ booth at the back of the dance floor.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via AP
Police tape blocks the entrance to the Minneapolis venue after patrons were evacuated when part of the ceiling collapsed.

By the time firefighters arrived, the audience was evacuating the venue. First Avenue General Manager Nathan Kranz said about 750 people were in attendance, according to the Associated Press. A spokeswoman for Hennepin County Medical Center told the Star Tribune that the three individuals admitted to the emergency room are in satisfactory condition. Their injuries are considered non-life-threatening.

First Avenue posted on Facebook this morning that venue officials are working with city inspectors and structural engineers while the building’s The Depot Tavern, 7th St. Entry, The Record Room and Mainroom have temporarily shut its doors to the public.

GM Kranz told Pollstar that the venue doesn’t have an answer yet about what caused the collapse.            

“I don’t know if anybody’s going to ever be able to tell us exactly why last night this portion of the plaster ceiling fell,” Kranz said. “I can tell you it had nothing to do with water damage or deferred maintenance or any of those type of things. I’ve seen some reports out there, strange things like somebody wrote that possibly a water main broke. What we know is that a piece of the plaster ceiling … came separated from the beams that attached it to the roof. It’s held up by a system of wires and things like that. For whatever reason last night a portion of that fell and came down and on the way it knocked the fire sprinkler pipes, which then caused water to start flowing down, right after the ceiling collapse.”

Because the collapse knocked out the sprinkler, the venue needs to get the fire suppression system back in working order before opening any of the rooms.

“Our expectation is that certainly 7th St. Entry we’re hoping will be open by Saturday because there was no damage in there. … As far as the rest of it, First Avenue, for instance, we’re taking it one day at a time,” Kranz said.

He added, “Upon the initial inspection … we had everybody from the city out here this morning and they don’t see any structural damage or anything like that, which is good. Because obviously that would be a much more major situation. We’re in the process of cleaning up and removing the rest of the plaster drop ceiling and once we have that down we’ll have the inspectors back out to evaluate the building. But as of now we’re optimistic that once we have that ceiling down we’ll be able to reopen quickly. I can’t really put an exact date on it.”

Thursday’s canceled lineup included Nancy’s Raygun with Rubert AngelEyes and Real Numbers at 7th St. Entry and The One Love Movement with DJ Verb X and Don Dadda Steele at The Record Room. Friday’s schedule included Sam Cassidy, Charlie Van Stee and Wild Age at 7th St. Entry; Ginstrings with The Way Down Wanderers and Tin Can Gin at the Mainroom; and System with Aaron Litschke, Jesse Jakob and visual artist Rachel Palmer at The Record Room. 

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