Structural experts try to find cause of VBC ceiling collapse


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Officials with the Von Braun Center say they are trying to determine what caused the ceiling to collapse outside of the Propst Arena.

The collapse happened approximately 6:20 Tuesday night. The ceiling over the covered outdoor patio near the private south entrance collapsed.

VBC staff and Huntsville Fire and Rescue personnel evacuated the arena to assess the situation. Fire Marshal Dan Wilkerson says they turned off power to the area determined that weight bearing structures were not involved.

Officials blocked access to the Bud Light Café, which is position above the collapsed area, then allowed people back into the VBC for the planned Huntsville Havoc Hockey game. That game was delayed by 30 minutes because of the collapse.

After an initial assessment Wednesday morning, it was determined that the framework that holds the ceiling failed.

The VBC says the Matheny Goldman architecture firm and and PEC Structural Engineers are working to assess the damage and determine what caused the ceiling components to fail. Nielsen says it could take up to two weeks for the assessment to be completed. She says reconstruction will not begin until the VBC understands what caused the collapse to occur.

Samantha Nielsen, who is the Marketing and Public Relations manager for the VBC says they have determined “there was a failure in the ceiling components, but no structural damage.” She also says there are other areas of the Propst Arena that has a similar balcony area being inspected at this time. Nielsen says that area isn’t open to the public.

There were no injuries as a result of the incident.

There is no word on when the Bud Light Café will reopen.

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