UPDATE: Next Steps After Building Collapse

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue finds construction worker dead under building's rubble


UPDATE: Friday was an intense, nonstop day for first responders, rescue crews and city officials, filled with hope and heartbreak after a building collapse.  Now their work continues to figure out why this all happened.

“After moving all that rubble, we did find him and it just didn’t work out for us, unfortunately,” recounts Sioux Falls Fire Chief Jim Sideras on Friday evening.

It was a tragic end to the search for a man inside a collapsed building in downtown Sioux Falls at 136 S. Phillips Avenue.  The victim, a construction worker, was found dead.  His body was pulled from the rubble around 5:30 p.m., about seven hours after the building came crashing down.

“He was just in a spot where everything collapsed around him,” Chief Sideras explains.  “Our firefighters tried their best and gave it their all, this wasn’t quite the ending we wanted to have.”

Around 10:30 a.m. Friday, the building, where the former Copper Lounge once stood, collapsed into the street.  First responders had to sort through dangerous debris.

One moment of hope during the devastating day came as crews saved a 22-year-old woman from the wreckage.  Her identity has not been released by authorities yet.

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue officials don’t believe anyone else is unaccounted for.

“No one’s been missing, right now we’ll be turning this over to the building owner, we’ll have people coming in, they’ll be doing a lot of determination of what caused this sad disaster to happen,” Chief Sideras says.

The next step is securing nearby buildings and businesses.

“OSHA is here and structural engineers, we’ll be looking at the buildings next door because of the damage done, the PAVE building, to make sure that that doesn’t collapse, we’re worried about that so we don’t have any problems.  Tomorrow, we’ll probably still have a lot of this area closed, traffic will be kinda blocked off for tomorrow too,” he says.

But, Friday night, first responders kept the victims and their loved ones in their thoughts.

“Our firefighters just want to have the best outcome for the family and it just, we were able to save one person but not the other person and it’s sad for us,” Sideras adds.

Chief Sideras could not say when authorities will know more about the cause of the collapse.

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Earlier we reported:

One victim trapped inside a collapsed building in downtown Sioux Falls has been found dead.

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Chief Jim Sideras says scent-tracking dogs were able to locate the body when brought to the scene. The building located at 10th Street and Phillips Avenue downtown collapsed around 10:30 a.m. Friday, trapping a tenant of the building and a construction worker inside. The tenant was rescued this afternoon by crews on site.

Sideras says crews will continue to work throughout the night to clear the rubble, and to inspect neighboring buildings for structural damage. Officials say the structure is still considered to be unstable, and that roads surrounding the site will continue to be blocked off throughout the weekend.

KDLT News will have continuing updates on this story.

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