Sioux City, IA Ruff Building Collapses, June 1918

Douglas Street from 4th Street, Sioux City, IA 1909 4th Street East from Douglas Street, Sioux City, IA 1909 Building Soon After Collapse

10 TO 20 DEAD IN SIOUX CITY TRAP.

A SCORE OR MORE INJURED AND SOME RESCUED WHO WERE BURIED ALIVE.

FIRE, WATER AND CHEMICALS ADD TO DESPERATE DANGER.

HEROIC WORK SAVES MEN FROM UNDER TONS OF WRECKAGE WHERE OTHERS BURNED.

(Associated Press Telegram)
Sioux City, Ia., June 29. -- The toll of dead in the Ruff building, a three-story structure at Fourth and Douglas, which collapsed this afternoon, was estimated tonight at from ten to twenty, with a score or more injured. Most of the injured are not seriously hurt. The financial loss is placed at $100,000. The Ruff building was being remodeled and the collapse is believed to have been due to removal of old supports. Erected nearly fifty years ago, it was one of the oldest buildings in the city.
The Dead Are:
LOUIS SULSETTI, Sioux City.
WALTER NELSON, Sioux City.
ROY OSTRANGER, Sioux City.
LOUIS SCHULER, Sioux City.
CHARLES KUGEL, Sioux City.
One Unidentified.
OTIS BORUFF, critically hurt, was dug out at 10 o'clock tonight.
The Missing:
ALFRED HANSON, one of the owners of the Ruff drug company.
Five tailors employed on the third floor of the Ruff building are believed to be buried in the basement. They are:
HERMAN FEDDERN; OLOF ROISUM; JOHN STUTZ; JOHN MOUMA; OLOF RUNNING.
Two other tailors, LOUIS FROTHEIM and NELS VIDINE, escaped. They fell clear of the ruins when the building toppled over.
How It Happened.
When the Ruff building collapsed the east wall fell on the Chain grocery and BEAUMONT and BRAUNGER meat markets, two stories, crushing both as if they were eggshells. A number of persons are believed to be buried in these buildings. Fire which broke out in the ruins of the Ruff building added to the perils of those imprisoned. All the fire departments in the city, assisted by hundreds of volunteers aided in fighting the flames and in searching the ruins. The escape of OSCAR RUFF, one of the proprietors of the store, from death bordered on the miraculous. After being imprisoned under tons of debris for over eight hours he was finally dug out by rescuers at 9 o'clock tonight, practically unhurt. He was taken to his home and declared that after he had a bath he would return and aid the rescuers. Fire, water and burning chemicals added to the perils of the tons of debris which threatened for hours to crush out RUFF'S life.
Narrow Escapes.
R. F. KUGEL, an employe of the RUFF drug company, who was in the building when it collapsed, was able to reach safety. His father CHARLES KUGEL, and brother, MERLE KUGEL, were caught in the ruins. CHARLES KUGEL, who was a carpenter, was taken out dead. MERLE, who was a clerk in the store, is still in the ruins. HANS ASPEW, a bookkeeper was rescued after being pinned in the ruins for hours. He was not seriously hurt.
FRANK HARP, one of the owners of the BEAUMENT and BRAUNGER markets, is believed to have been burned to death in his office. Soon after the accident occurred the telephone in another BEAUMONT and BRAUNGER store at Sixth street rang.
The Voice By Wire.
"For God's sake come and help me get out," a voice shouted indistinctly over the wire.
F. RICKSTER, an employe of the market at Sixth and Pearl streets, answered the telephone. He says that it sounded like HARP'S voice. Efforts were made to cut thru the back and reach the imprisoned man. A hole was cut thru the ice box in the rear of the establishment, but the debris blocked entrance to the office.

The Waterloo Times-Tribune Iowa 1918-06-30

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THIRTY-SEVEN OF TOTAL KNOWN.

DEATH ROLL OF SIOUX CITY HORROR IS NOW THIRTY-EIGHT AND NOW TO FIX BLAME.

(Associated Press Telegram)
Sioux City, Ia., July 1. -- Work of identifying the dead in the RUFF building disaster was practically finished tonight. 37 of the 38 bodies being identified.
The new names added to the death roll are:
EMMA CRUMMINE.
MRS. MARION CAYLOR.
CHARLES ROESSLER.
MRS. JONATHAN OSTLE.
JAMES McLAIN.
Search of the ruins was abandoned today and the task of burying the dead and endeavoring to fix the blame for the disaster taken up. An investigation to determine the cause of the RUFF disaster has been started by County Attorney O. T. NAGLESTAD.
Many persons allege that the disaster was due to an explosion and others assert that the collapse of the RUFF building was due to the re-modeling operations.

The Waterloo Times-Tribune 1918-07-02