NEW IPSWICH, NH – A fast-moving storm caused the tent at the “Wake Up America” tent revival in New Ipswich to collapse Sunday afternoon, sending four people to the hospital and injuring several others.
New Ipswich Deputy Fire Chief Gary Somero said his department responded to Paul Somero’s Locke Road property where the tent revival has been taking place since Aug. 14 for a report of a tent collapse and 20 injured people.
Only four people were transported to the hospital and they had “relatively minor injuries,” Somero said. One went to Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, one went to Catholic Medical Center in Nashua and two went to UMass Medical Center in Leominster. Several other people were injured, including two who refused to be taken to the hospital by ambulance, and are either self-treating or taking themselves in for care, he said.
Injuries included bumps and bruises and one broken arm, Somero said.
“The group did a roll call to make sure they all were accounted for,” he said.
The tent had been inspected by the fire department and had been certified, but added his department members are not “tent experts.”
Somero said the storm moving through town is believed to have caused the tent collapse. “All I know is that I was at home when the storm came through and it was big and it was fast and the lightning was fierce.”
In a video posted to Facebook shortly after the tent collapsed, the man holding the tent revival, Danish evangelist Torben Søndergaard asked for prayers.
“This is crazy. I’ve never seen anything like this before,” he said in the video. “Pray for us. We need to see the power of God. We already knew we were in a war.”
Søndergaard said they had just finished a revival session and most of the people had left when the storm swept in. The only people in the tent were revival team members, he said.
“I never seen any wind like this. A wind just came and took everybody up,” he said in the video. “The tent and everybody just went out. … Everyone just got lifted up.”
Looking around the scene Sunday afternoon, he added, “It’s almost like being in a war zone right now. … Everyone pray for us. Pray for us.”
Somero said several other area fire departments responded including multiple ambulance services.
You can watch the Facebook video post below.