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December 21, 2016 06:00 PM

How Technology Helped Rescue Crews During Building Collapse

Sioux Falls, SD

Rescue crews are still amazed they were in constant contact with the survivor of the Copper Lounge building collapse.  A Sioux Falls Fire Rescue division chief says a certain every day device made finding Emily Fodness a lot easier. 

Three hours after Copper Lounge collapsed, we saw a glimmer of hope when first responders pulled Fodness to safety.  Halfway through the ordeal, though, she was preparing for the worst. 

"Probably an hour and a half into it and I just broke down and cried and thought, am I going to die here?" Fodness said. 

Underneath all of this uncertainty, Fodness knew what she had to do. 

"I was trying to figure out where it was at, I stayed still and tried to figure it out, because I'm thinking, if there's any way I'm going to get out of here, I need to get my phone," Fodness said. 

That phone allowed her to talk with rescue crews, and that helped them pinpoint her location. 

"Having that phone was such a unique situation," Division Chief Brad Goodroad, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, said. 

There is another role this phone answered.  Goodroad says it also provided possible emotional support for Fodness. 

"I think that really helped her understand what we were doing. Where we were, how far away we were," Goodroad said. 

Remarkably, Fodness' cell phone kept its charge the entire time of the search and rescue.  She told KELOLAND News when officers pulled her from the rubble and rushed her to the emergency room, that is when it finally died.

While first responders deserve all of the credit, Goodroad says technology brought a lot more certainty to everyone involved.  

"To know what is going on, to know who was there to help me and to know what exactly is happening around me would make quite a difference," Goodroad said. 

Emily Fodness is living proof.  
  • Copper Lounge Collapse
  • News
  • SD
  • Sioux Falls
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