Community Reflects on Copper Lounge Collapse

Tomorrow Marks One Year Since Collapse

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- Tomorrow marks one year since downtown Sioux Falls was shaken to its core by the Copper Lounge collapse. Although the rubble has been cleaned up and plans to rebuild a new business there have started, the community is still trying to come to terms with the tragedy.

“Quite a traumatic event for a lot of people. I mean it was horrible,” says Co-Owner of Half Baked, Stuart Daniel.

The wounds are still fresh to many Sioux Falls community members of the horrendous Copper Lounge building collapse.

“It was a scary time, we were shut down for 11 days. It was chaos,” says Daniel.

For Stuart Daniel Co-Owner of the Half-Baked bakery, it’s something he will never forget. He says the support from the community was overwhelming once they were able to reopen.

“The City of Sioux Falls was really supportive and did a really good job of supporting downtown businesses that were affected by the tragedy that happened,” says Daniel.

For others, looking at the site is a reminder of where they were that day.

David Raymond says he remembers getting the call from his wife about his former employee Emily Fodness being trapped in the building.

“Fearing for her and her family. Her brother had worked for me at the time too, who also lived in the building,” says Emily Fodness’s former boss Raymond. “So I didn’t know if he was out and if he was okay,”

Although most of the area is cleaned up and construction has begun to open new businesses on the site. The events that happened on December 2, 2016, will forever be with the community.

“It’s a void definitely in the downtown community. I think every time people drive down by it, they realize something terrible happened there,” says Raymond.

Another thing that still lingers among many is the life lost on the site.

“One good point Emily got out of the building okay, unfortunately, a life was lost,” says Raymond.

Hultgren Construction was the company working in the Copper Lounge when the building collapsed

In a statement to KDLT News the company says, “Our thoughts and support will always be for and with the McMahon and Fodness families and our community,”

Back in May OSHA issued two willful violations to Hultgren Construction stating the company did not instruct its employees about unsafe conditions on the Copper Lounge work site. Hultgren Construction is contesting both citations.

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