Part of Madera Elks Lodge ceiling collapses

MADERA, Calif.

The incident was too close a call for several members of the lodge. Some of them are lucky to have escaped injury. The Madera Elks Lodge has been serving the needy since 1956, but now members are picking up the pieces. The inside of the upstairs bar looks like it was damaged in an earthquake. The drop ceiling came crashing down Saturday night while members and their families were closing down the fireworks stand outside the lodge.

it was like oh my god I couldn't believe it. We had just left so my husband was on the way in and if they had gone in just two minutes earlier they would have been right there in the middle of it," said Teresa Suderman with the Madera Elks Lodge.

A surveillance camera captured the ceiling collapse as it happened. What followed the collapse was an eerie sight as dust particles floated in the air, it looked as if it were snowing indoors. Eddie Block removed a treasured Elks Lodge clock as other pieces of the roof came down. The lodge leader doesn't know why the ceiling anchors didn't hold.

" They just believe it's just age of the building and it just settled down a little bit too much," said Eddie Block with the Madera Elks Lodge.

The elks lodge hall is normally fully booked.

"This was the one Saturday we were not rented out. So had we been rented out with people dancing on the floor it definitely would have caved in on somebody," said Block.

The damage also caused the lodge to cancel this week's popular bingo night. A contractor told Block repairs would cost $22,000. He expects insurance to pay $12,000, meaning the elks must use some of their fireworks funds for a new ceiling.

" Part of the money will go to crippled children, which is what the elks stand for but it also will go towards helping repair our lodge," said Suderman.

The Elks Lodge could use some volunteers on Saturday to help clean up the mess so repairs can begin.

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