Event hall collapses shortly before party on New Year's Eve

Crews tore down a building in Pennsylvania Sunday after it collapsed Saturday, about an hour before a scheduled party.

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The Primo Event Hall in Vandergrift came crumbling down around 5 p.m. Saturday. Crews worked Sunday to demolish more of the building.

No one was inside at the time of the collapse and there were no reported injuries, officials in Westmoreland County said. The collapse brought down some live utility wires, and utility crews were called to make repairs. Bricks also hit cars parked in a grocery store's parking lot across the street.

"From my understanding from the contractor is that the joists gave way," Vandergrift Council President Brian Carricato said.

The more than a century-old building was formerly Sons of Italy. It was most recently used as a private event venue, according to its website.

"This is a sad property to see come down. My parents got married here, spaghetti dinners Thursday nights, bingo Friday nights, tons of dances," Carricato said. "Probably every person in Vandergrift has memories of this building."

About 100 people were expected to gather Saturday night at the venue for Lisa Chin's husband's surprise 40th birthday party. Chin left about 4 p.m. after setting up for the celebration.

"I'm glad everyone was out of there," she said. "We all feel lucky."

The building's owner has not decided whether another hall will be constructed.

Officials said the cause of the collapse remains under investigation.

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