Building collapses in Sioux Falls; woman, dog rescued

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A construction worker was killed and a woman rescued after a building collapsed during remodeling in downtown Sioux Falls on Friday morning, officials said.

The construction worker’s body was recovered shortly before 6 p.m. after a special K-9 dog was brought in to help find the man, Sioux Falls Fire Chief Jim Sideras said.

The woman who was rescued, identified as Emily Fodness, 22, who lived in the building, had been speaking on the phone with her mother as crews worked to clear debris.

“She’s alive and well, does have some injuries to her legs,” said the city’s emergency manager, Regan Smith. “We don’t know the extent of that at this time.”

The woman’s family later released a statement saying she was in good condition.

The construction worker was making pounding noises after the collapse to try to communicate with emergency crews, Sideras said, but rescuers became concerned when the worker’s pounding stopped.

The collapse was reported at around 10:30 a.m. CT Friday. The first to be removed from the rubble was a dog, found at about 1 p.m. and apparently unharmed.

One person working on the building was able to escape to alert rescuers that another man was inside.

The building has been vacant since a bar called the Copper Lounge closed in September. It was being remodeled to house a drugstore that was to open in the spring.

The owner of the building, Norman Drake, was in Minneapolis on business when he got a call that the building he purchased earlier this year had collapsed. He said he didn’t have any details on work was taking place there but was cutting his trip short because of the emergency.

Tim Kant, who owned the building for 10 years before its sale, said construction crews had been trying to remove a wall between the Copper Lounge and the former Skelly’s bar.

“All I know is they were taking down the old brick wall and replacing it with a 2-by-6 wood wall,” said Kant, who still owns a smoke shop attached to the building. The manager at his business was not trapped.

Brady Lynch, who works in a fifth-floor office nearby, said he saw a cloud of dust from his window.

“We could see that half of a building was gone,” Lynch said.

Mike Klatt was working in Coffea espresso bar when the building collapsed. He saw a few bricks fall first, then the building buckled, followed with a cloud of dust.

“It came down fairly quickly,” Klatt said.

Contributing: Dana Ferguson and Patrick Anderson, (Sioux Falls, S.D.) Argus Leader; The Associated Press.

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