Vishnu Bunny collapse scare comes with eerie timing

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Sioux Falls, SD (KSFY) Phillips Avenue was blocked off between 10th and 11th street from about 1:00-5:00 Thursday afternoon. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue says the facade of the Vishnu Bunny tattoo parlor building was leaning forward a bit and were concerned it might fall down.

There was a quick and large response from city officials, all in an effort to prevent any possible injuries.

“That facade it is all brick and if for some reason that would let go, that would be a lot of brick and weight coming down,” Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Division Chief Steve Fessler said.

Firefighters quickly blocked off the sidewalks and parking in front of the building and initially evacuated four businesses.

“They just came in and told us they need everybody out, just as a precaution,” Vishnu Bunny Tattoo artist Dale James said.

Authorities said there was some movement on the façade throughout the afternoon until contractors began shoring up the front of the building. The building’s owners are now in charge of the scene and are working to secure the three-store front building.

“Now just playing the waiting game to determine if this is going to turn into any sort of lengthy shut down,” Vishnu Bunny owner Jeff Mann said.

Despite the inconvenience, many people were glad to see such a quick response from city officials.

“I think that it shows a great spirit of care, that the city understands that not every structure is permanent, after everything that happened last year, they're really showing every effort they can to keep everybody safe now,” James said.

Many people are talking about the eerie timing of this structural scare. Thursday was also the first day the new downtown Lewis Drug Store was open for business.

It’s located right where the Copper Lounge building once stood. That building collapsed while under-going renovations in December 2016, killing a construction worker at the site.

“It gave me the sweats for about 30 seconds,” James said of Thursday’s evacuation. “But I really don't see this city allowing something like that to happen again, after the tragedy last year, I really think that people are paying more attention.”

The employees evacuated from the four businesses on this section of Philips Avenue all had a front row seat to the deadly Copper Lounge building collapse.

“It’s crazy,” Mann said. “This corner is starting to be a little worrisome.”

Many believe that history is why there was such a fast and serious response by the contractors, city engineers and emergency responders Thursday, all making sure this situation did not become another tragedy.