Officials: 1 killed, 16 hospitalized when storm collapses St. Louis tent

Posted at 5:16 PM, Apr 28, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-28 20:22:36-04

(CNN) — At least one person was killed and 16 others hospitalized Saturday afternoon when a sports bar tent collapsed during a storm that swept through the St. Louis area, fire officials said.

Five people suffered critical head injuries.

St. Louis Cardinals baseball fans gathered after a victory over the Milwaukee Brewers at Kilroy’s, which had a tent set up in the rear, according to fire Capt. Dan Sutter. The bar is south of Busch Stadium.

High winds knocked down pieces of the tent, officials said.

“We had live wires lying on the ground. We have severe injuries to quite a few people,” said St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson. “This gives us nightmares.”

A couple hundred people were inside the tent, Jenkerson told CNN affiliate KSDK. At least 80 were treated at the scene, he said.

The area had been under a severe thunderstorm watch, with a warning issued shortly before the incident.

“The wind speed when it hit that tent could have been 40 to 50 miles per hour, may have been stronger. It’s hard to tell,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Kramper. “This cell blew up very quickly.”

Video shot by KSDK showed remains of the crumpled tent and dazed patrons standing outside.

A strong thunderstorm north of the city produced golf-ball-sized and larger hail, according to Kramper.

Portions of eastern Missouri and western Illinois were under tornado and severe thunderstorm watches Saturday evening. A tornado warning for downtown St. Louis expired before 7 p.m.

By the CNN Wire Staff.
CNN’s Greg Morrison, Jacqui Jeras and Phil Gast contributed to this report.
™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.