By Crystal Britt
PERRYVILLE, MO (KFVS) - A night of Bingo was cut short in Perryville Tuesday. Before the first number was even called, a billboard outside the building fell and smashed part of the River Hills Eagles Club and several cars outside.
The good news is no one was hurt, but this story came just a few minutes from turning tragic. Right before the sign fell people were coming and going at the lodge. It just so happens at that moment no one was outside.
"We started Bingo at a quarter til seven," said Linda Tarrillion. "Before I even called the first number, there was a loud boom. We thought it was thunder."
Then the power went out.
"My first thought was a transformer or something electrical blew up," said Donna Phillips.
Everyone headed outside and saw a tangled mess.
"I couldn't believe it," said Phillips. "You don't think about something like that happening. It's unbelievable, looks like a tornado went through."
At day break the damage was truly revealed. The weight of the massive billboard crashing to the ground nearly flattened some cars. It's a sight that is the talk of town.
People come to take pictures and just stare in awe at the damage. Among them, Linda Tarrillion. There's not much left of her Ford Mercury.
"A few minutes sooner it would have been really bad because there were people leaving, people coming in to Bingo," said Tarrillion.
Pat Webb was also working inside when the sign fell.
"We were just shocked it happened," said Webb.
Her car was also destroyed.
"It's gone," she said. "If you see the front of it and the side, it's gone which I wasn't planning on getting me a car, but I guess I will now."
There's also damage to the Eagles club. Workers estimate there's about $50,000 worth. The two men who apparently represent the sign company were there in Perryville on the scene Wednesday, and wouldn't talk to Heartland News or say who they represent. But, according to workers inside the lodge, they're with CBS Outdoor. A lot of folks say the sign's been a huge concern for quite some time.
"It's made noise before, but we just never thought about it falling down you know," said Tarrillion.
Onlookers couldn't help but notice the rust and question whether it was an act of God, or just a lack of maintenance.
"The wind was not bad (Tuesday night when it fell)," said Tarrillion. "I'm not happy about it. What can I say? We're just thankful nobody got hurt."