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Posted on Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.

Eastern Michigan indoor practice facility 'pops' with San Francisco 49ers inside

By Rich Rezler


A rip in the Eastern Michigan University indoor practice facility is temporarily fixed on Sunday. Reports indicate the air-supported structure 'popped' during a San Francisco 49ers practice on Saturday.

Joe Tobianski |

While the Eastern Michigan football team was off winning its biggest game of the season on Saturday, the Eagles’ bubble was burst.


The San Francisco 49ers were using Eastern Michigan’s indoor practice facility when the air-supported structure was ripped by high winds in the area at about 1:15 p.m. Saturday.

According to the Sacramento Bee, the 49ers were 10 minutes into stretching when “they heard the loudest ‘pop’ of their lives.” San Francisco was using the facility to prepare for its game Sunday against the Lions at Ford Field in Detroit.

The $3.9 million facility, completed in 2010, did not collapse but did lose its tautness after a 15-foot rip appeared near the bottom of the western side of facility, according to the report.

A hand-written note on the door of the facility Sunday reads “Dome closed until further notice!” The dome -- located at northeast corner of the school's Rynearson Stadium -- appears fully inflated.

Geoff Larcom, EMU's executive director of media relations, said workers from the school's physical plant had a temporarily patch in place by 6 p.m. Saturday and EMU officials will meet with representatives from Turner Construction -- the company that built the structure -- to discuss how to make a permanent fix.

Eastern Michigan beat Central Michigan, 35-28, in Mount Pleasant on Saturday when Eagles quarterback Alex Gillett scored a game-winning touchdown in the final minute. It was the first road win of the season for the 4-3 Eagles.

In addition to football, the Eastern Michigan women's soccer, baseball, softball and men's and women's golf programs use the facility, which is 410 feet long by 210 feet wide and 75 feet tall.

High winds Saturday also brought down trees and power lines and left thousands without power in Washtenaw County and southeast Michigan.



Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 2:56 a.m.

Well, there goes that multi-million dollar investment.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 12:16 a.m.

You've never heard of insurance, I take it?


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 12:53 p.m.

At least it is not like the Dallas Cowboy practice "bubble" where people died when it "popped". I am glad EMU picked a safer design. grimmk - Take down all the golf bubbles too then.

Chris Goosman

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

No one died in the Dallas collapse, but two were pretty severely injured. One was permanently paralyzed from the waist down.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 3:12 a.m.

Maybe they should just take it down! It's such an eye sore!

say it plain

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 12:54 a.m.

Ah, but the 49ers burst the Detroit Lions' bubble, unfortunately...