The roof of a northern Illinois theater collapsed Wednesday afternoon.
Snow and ice caused the roof to sink in at the PEC Playhouse Theatre in Pecatonica. No one was in the building at the time.
Suzanne Wiegert is the president of the board of directors at the theater. She said there wasn’t an issue with the roof before the recent snowstorms but the day before the fall, a volunteer noticed that something was brewing. He alerted everyone and the building manager went to check.
“He said, ‘Oh my gosh, nobody enter the building, I'm certain it's going to collapse’" She said they put signs on the door advising people to keep out. “And then I think about 2 o'clock in the afternoon is when they went to go check on it, with I believe the fire chief and the city mayor and it had collapsed.”
Wiegert said the theater originally planned to open its doors March 1 for rehearsals but decided it still wasn’t safe due to the pandemic.
“And then two short weeks later, the roof. So that hurt a little bit," she said. "But that's not stopping us from making plans to have events outdoors in the summer, there's space in a local park that we can use.”
Wiegert said that so far, the public has been very generous with donations as the theater looks to rebuild its home.
A neighboring business heard the beam crack the Sunday before the collapse. She said they compared the noise to a firing rifle.
The theatre is working with their insurance company for a final damage assessment. Donations can be made at the theater’s website.
- Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.