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BBC: London's Apollo Theatre's roof collapses


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Part of a roof in the Apollo Theatre in central London has collapsed during a performance.

The theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue was packed for a performance of the Curious Incident Of The Dog in the Night-time.

An eyewitness said she heard "a crackling" noise before the collapse at about 20:15 GMT.

London Ambulance said there were 30 casualties including walking wounded. London Fire Brigade said all those who were trapped had been freed.

It said eight fire engines were attending, and police are also at the scene in London's West End theatre district.

A spokesman added that the theatre was almost full with "around 700 people" watching the performance.

Witnesses said they saw people leaving the building, covered in dust and debris - with some people bleeding and crying.

'Strange crackling noise'

Amy Lecoz, who was at the theatre with her two children, aged 16 and 19, said: "The entire dome roof fell down on the audience just in front of us.

"We were protected by the balcony above and we ran. People started screaming.

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Theatre-goer Lucy Atherton: "The ceiling just fell in"

"We thought it was water... We thought it was a part of the show. I grabbed my kids and ran."

Another witness said she heard a "strange crackling noise" before "the roof just crumpled".

The theatre "suddenly went dark" with "dust clouds everywhere", she said.

"You could see everyone ran off the stage... it went dark".

Andrew Howard-Smith, 68, said: "I saw the edge of the balcony come down, that's what I saw. We were on the balcony below.

"In the production you had to hold on to the rail and lean over to see what was going on, and we were doing the same.

"Everybody must have got hold of the brass rail and just pushed it over, and then the edge came off. That was the only bit that came off, just the edge. It wasn't the whole of the balcony, just the front 2ft."

Martin Bowstock and his family were also in the audience.

He also thought it was part of the show.

Speaking to the BBC News Channel, he added; "All the actors reacted, we saw all the actors looking up above us and pointing, looking horrified and then things started falling and smoke, and I thought it was part of the show until something hit me on the head very hard.

"I thought, that's not quite, that's not quite right, and then everything came down around us and to be quite honest I thought we were all going to be in really, really, really serious trouble and it felt horrific."

'Quite panicked'

The witness said police and emergency crews were at the scene within minutes.

Continue reading the main story Apollo theatre
  • The theatre is owned and operated by Nimax Theatres
  • It has 775 seats over four levels
  • Some 480 of the seats are located on the stalls dress and circle levels
  • The stage measures 9.2m x 8.8m
  • Named for the Greek god of the arts and leader of the muses, because it was designed and built as a venue for musical entertainment
  • The Apollo Theatre first opened its doors in February 1901

A 29-year-old audience member, who only gave his name as Ben, said: "It was about halfway through the first half of the show and there was a lot of creaking.

"We thought it was part of the scene, it was a seaside scene, but then there was a lot of crashing noise and part of the roof caved in.

"There was dust everywhere, everybody's covered in dust. We got out fairly quickly, I think everyone was quite panicked."

Jess Bowie was also in the theatre and said in a tweet that the experience was "absolutely petrifying... people outside are covered in dust and some in blood. Utterly horrible".

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time has been running in London since August 2012. The show started at The National Theatre, before transferring to the Apollo in March this year.

The Apollo was built in 1901. It is owned and operated by Nimax Theatres and has 775 seats over four levels.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-25458009

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Hope no one is too badly hurt. At least it's location owes itself to a very fast emergency response.

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Just last night I was re-watching the film Inglorius Bastards and the cinematographer intentionally burned the cinema down. I thought of that immediately I read this story. The problem with theatres and cinemas is that people tend to think that it's all 'part of the show'.

It actually constitutes causing a public nuisance if you wilfully shout 'FIRE' in a theatre. There's a separate offence that covers it now but you can still get them under the common law offence if necessary.


The forum seems to have edited the film name: Inglorius [email protected]

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Sloth1546082567

Hope everyone makes speedy recoveries. I know the control rooms for the tech crew are up in the dome, I hope that they did not fall from that height.

The problem with theatres and cinemas is that people tend to think that it's all 'part of the show'.

It actually constitutes causing a public nuisance if you wilfully shout 'FIRE' in a theatre. There's a separate offence that covers it now but you can still get them under the common law offence if necessary.

Some fire alarms in theatres are a bit odd in that they actually have a computerised voice reading an evacuation script instead of an alarm. Having worked in theatres I can tell you now that evacuating them in the dark is very difficult.

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bensonby

Maybe there should be a publicised "codeword" to evacuate... Make it well known that if a tannoy comes out saying "mr Sands says evacuate the building immediately" everyone should leave.

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I was out nearby at a works Xmas party and was one of the 1st on scene. Very chaotic but managed to help evacuate and treat some of the wounded.

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Administrative Account

As far as the emergency services involvement in this incident goes it is worth noting that 3 of the 8 fire stations that attended are due to close in just over a couple of weeks.

Three of the eight fire stations that sent engines to the Apollo Theatre last night are set to close in less than three weeks unless a court ruling at midday today blocks the plans.

Westminster, Knightsbridge and Southwark fire stations are all earmarked for closure on 9 January 2014 under proposals from the Mayor’s office to close 10 fire stations in London.

A High Court ruling today may yet halt or block the plans, but it rests on “a very narrow issue about whether Boris [Johnson] acted unlawfully in the way he went about [the proposals],” a London Fire Brigade Union (LBFU) spokesperson told LondonlovesBusiness.com.

Current plans would see the loss of more than 500 fire brigade posts in London, in a bid to save £28.8m over two years.

Seven London councils that will be impacted by the cuts are bringing the legal challenge in a bid to stop the plans.

The councils have previously said the plans are “legally flawed” and “could put lives at risk”.

Following a long-running dispute over the cuts, Boris Johnson said in September, when the proposals were approved: “Ensuring that London’s fire service is financially stable and keeping Londoners safe are my top priorities.”

We will update you after the High Court ruling is made at midday today.

http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/business-news/politics/apollo-theatre-almost-half-fire-stations-that-sent-engines-set-to-close/7076.article?utm_source=Sign-Up.to&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=17719-203872-20%2F12%2F2013+-+London+Newsletter

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_71864693_7vbb8cvs.jpg

Police commandeered three London buses to take the injured to hospital

Source

I've heard stories from trainers about commandeering chattels in an emergency but they've never been able to tell me the authority from which this 'power' is derived. So going from this example I'm left with one of three choices:

  • Is it just a fancy way of saying they've asked permission to use the bus?
  • Is their something written in the contract of London Buses allowing their use by the emergency services in an emergency?
  • Or is there some statutory authority allowing chattels to be used in the event of an emergency or other circumstance? If so, what law authorises this?

:new_thanks:

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E29NP1546080952

  • Is their something written in the contract of London Buses allowing their use by the emergency services in an emergency?

I'd say it's just common sense and an agreement from the bus driver. All the driver would have to do then is inform TfL's CentreComm of the situation.

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I'd say it's just common sense and an agreement from the bus driver. All the driver would have to do then is inform TfL's CentreComm of the situation.

That's what I would have thought.

I know the military (and some civil agencies) gain the power to requisition/commandeer property in wartime or a state of emergency but in peacetime AFAIK the power cannot be exercised.

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Dave SYP

I hope all those affected recover speedily. I certainly hope that London doesn't lose any fire stations or any other emergency services provisions in the vicinity in light of this recent event. I understand that all the aged theatres are now to be inspected for faults.

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Richhamdo

I hope all those affected recover speedily. I certainly hope that London doesn't lose any fire stations or any other emergency services provisions in the vicinity in light of this recent event. I understand that all the aged theatres are now to be inspected for faults.

Dave SYP, like you I clearly hope they don't make any stringent or unneccesary cuts in the emergency services, I have as you have,spent many years working with them,but the current state of the national debt is huge,servicing the debt alone is about 43 bn pounds per annum apparently

I was having a look at the National debt clock .co.uk on my pad just recently and it stood at 1,304,964,200,000 pounds or thereabouts,going up by hundreds if not thousands of pounds per second, the way I see things,if this country doesn't start running a very tight ship soon,the wheel is going to come off big style,making the present policing situation look like a walk in the park on a Sunday morning.Rich.

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I understand that all the aged theatres are now to be inspected for faults.

The Apollo theatre was "inspected" three months prior to the accident.

I don't know how thorough the inspections are and whether such 'faults' can be detected but I'm not that confident in any faults being discovered. :rolleyes:

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