Belvidere Apollo Theatre roof collapse victims still in shock as they recover

Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Belvidere Apollo Theatre collapse victims still in shock as they recover
The dozens of people injured Friday night when the roof in the Apollo Theatre are convalescing, allowing their injuries to heal, but their trauma runs far deeper.

BELVIDERE, Ill. (WLS) -- The victims who survived the collapse of the Apollo Theatre's roof in Belvidere Friday night are recovering, but are still shocked by the incident.

There was a sold-out metal show going on when an EF-1 tornado caused the roof to give way during an outbreak of severe weather.

"I don't even know how I made it out," said Dylan Crone from his hospital bed.

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Crone's injuries are still visible after his first night out with his new coworkers ended in terror and agonizing pain. He was one of the 48 people injured by falling pieces of concrete and debris during the strong storms.

While they remian in hospitals recovering from broken bones, cuts, bruises and other injuries, the Belvidere Apollo Theatre roof collapse victims say their trauma will linger much longer.

"As soon as I felt pain and started yelling for help, I said there was still a chance that I can make it through this," he said. "I was in front-left-center of the stage, so right where the main part of the building fell, I was right there. It just immediately crashed on me, and I was out like light."

Fred Livingston, Jr. was the only fatality from the disaster. He was standing next to his son in the front row, and near Paul Rojas and his two bandmates, who were also badly injured.

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"I feel the whole, heavy things in my body, my legs, my head," Rojas recalled. "When you realize days after, and see that, man, he was next to me."

Rojas has many broken bones throughout his body from the collapse. So does Victoria Bella, who was also in the front row with her partner and two coworkers.

"I remember going to turn to run away and something hit me in the head, and the next thing I knew I was unconscious. And, the last thing I remember was a paramedic scooping me up and taking me to an ambulance," she said.

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Bella's fiancee, Michelle Meyers, is in a separate hospital with a broken back and 10 broken ribs. The couple was in the first row of the show.

"They're separated right now. They haven't seen each other since the show," said Katie Meyers, sister

And while the physical injuries are slow to heal, the trauma, some say, will linger much, much longer.

"I was just thinking it would be a fun event to go to. It took me, very much, by surprise," said Crone.

"I feel so bad for that family and anybody else who got severely, severely hurt to the point that they can't move. I just can't believe this," said Bella.

Genie Beers returned Monday to reclaim belongings dug out of the rubble, trembling as she relived it all.

"The man that passed away, he wasn't that far away from us," she said.

As her sister starts to heal, Katie Meyers said the family is left wondering if the night could have gone differently.

"She was told essentially, 'If you go out there, you're going at your own risk. If you go out there and realize it's bad, you're not coming back in,'" Meyers said.