Building collapses in Sioux Falls; woman, dog rescued

KARE 11 – by Joe Sneve

The old Copper Lounge building in downtown Sioux Falls collapsed on Friday morning, sending debris onto Phillips Avenue and trapping people inside.

Jim Sideras, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue chief, said two people were trapped in the rubble. One of the people trapped was speaking on the phone with her mother as crews worked to clear the debris.

Sideras said the victim, who was on the phone with her mother while trapped, kept updating officials on her whereabouts. “She can’t see daylight so we know she’s covered by debris.”  

In a news conference, officials say the 22-year-old woman was successfully rescued from the debris around 1:30 p.m., about three hours after the building collapsed.

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

The woman was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Smith said about 20 minutes before that, crews were able to rescue the woman’s dog from the rubble.

Smith said searches are ongoing and they are continuing to work to safely remove debris. They are also checking the integrity of the surrounding buildings. Smith said the adjacent building has one wall that’s compromised.

The collapse was reported around 10:30 a.m.


Crews are removing debris brick by brick.

One person working on the building escaped to alert rescuers that a worker was inside.

The building has been vacant or under construction since Copper Lounge closed in September.

Lewis Drug has planned to open in the space next spring. The building is owned by Legacy Developments, which bought it from Tim Kant last year. Kant owns Eastwold Smoke Shop in the same building.

Around 11 a.m. emergency responders had a ladder truck on the scene to provide an aerial view of the damage. The area will be closed indefinitely as crews work the scene.

Tim Kant, who owned the building for 10 years and recently sold it to Lewis Drug, 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 two-by-six wood wall,” Kant said.

Kant owns a smoke shop attached to the building. He said when he heard about the collapse he ran down to check on the manager of the shop, who was OK.

Bob Lewis, head of Lewis marketing, said the construction was in the demolition stage.

“It’s unfathomable,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with people inside. That’s our main concern now. We’ll deal with everything else later.”

“All I know is they were taking down the old brick wall and replacing it with a two-by-four wood wall,” Kant said.

Sprinkler systems had broken after the collapse and Phillips Avenue is closed in the area.

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 when the building collapsed. He saw a few bricks fall first, then the building buckled, followed by a cloud of dust.

“It came down fairly quickly,” Klatt said.

Tammi Soutar works at Avera’s downtown building. She heard the sirens but not the collapse.

“I am so worried about the people in there,” Soutar said.

2 thoughts on “Building collapses in Sioux Falls; woman, dog rescued

    1. I’m thinking someone pissed with a main support wall but didn’t calculate the potential weight. (Lowest bid ya know) The article states 2 x 6″, and 2 x 4″ walls. Which is it? No mention of support beams….
      I guess the building was under construction at the time.
      I bop into the Agenda 21 stick-hole Sewer Falls when it’s necessary, let alone downtown,and that’s it.
      Thank you for your concern Katie.

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