Hours after a historic building undergoing renovation collapsed in downtown Sioux Falls, S.D., on Friday, rescuers pulled a resident to safety but were unable to save the life of a construction worker buried in the rubble.
The male worker’s body was recovered Friday evening, according to the Sioux Falls Fire Department. Although authorities have not released his name, his mother identified him as Ethan McMahon.
“Thank you to everyone for your prayers for these victims and their families,” Mayor Mike Huether said in a news release. “I also commend the first responders. … Finally, the family of the young man who passed needs to know they are not alone tonight in their sadness.”
Earlier, a resident of the building was rescued and taken away in an ambulance as onlookers cheered. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader identified her as Emily Fodness, 22, and said she was in good condition after three hours under the rubble. Her dog was also rescued.
The Copper Lounge building, a 100-year-old structure located at 136 S. Phillips Av., caved in sometime after 10 a.m. Friday. Dozens of emergency workers searched frantically for the resident and the construction worker. No one else was thought to be inside, said Regan Smith, emergency manager for the city.
Sioux Falls Fire Chief Jim Sideras, whose department used chain saws to slice through the tangled truss, said crews had to be extremely careful with each cut.
The cause of the collapse is under investigation, but fire officials said there was no explosion.
The structure and its neighbor, Eastwold Smoke Shop, were built in 1916. The Copper Lounge was being repurposed as a Lewis Drug with plans to open next spring, according a city spokeswoman.
Construction workers contracted on the project were unable to account for McMahon after the roof crashed. Early on, fire officials had said they believed he was pounding on the walls to help emergency responders find him, but the noise eventually stopped.
“Sound is difficult in those buildings,” Sideras said.
McMahon was working at the site with his brother, John McMahon, who escaped.