1 person rescued overnight after part of apartment building collapses in Iowa; structure to be demolished

Published: May. 28, 2023 at 8:55 PM CDT|Updated: May. 29, 2023 at 1:01 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC/Gray News) - One person was “extracted” from an apartment building that partially collapsed Sunday in downtown Davenport, officials have confirmed.

That person has been taken to a hospital, Fire Chief Mike Carlsten said during a media briefing. The condition of the person was not known, he added.

At this time, no deaths have been confirmed, Carlsten said, and it’s unclear how many people, if any, were still missing.

The owner of the apartment building has been served with a notice and order for demolition, city officials said Monday.

“The property is currently being secured by a contractor on site this afternoon, and demolition is expected to commence in the morning,” Sarah Ott, the city’s chief strategy officer, said in a media release.

Residents will not be allowed back into the building

Part of a building collapsed in Davenport, Iowa, on Sunday.

K9 units have been working throughout the night and are still on the scene at this time, Carlsten said.

“Multiple structural engineers have been on-site throughout the night to provide technical guidance for our rescue effort,” Carlsten said. “We are currently finishing the rescue phase of our operation and soon it will become a recovery operation.

“If anyone’s concerned about a possible missing loved one or unknown person, please contact 911 with this information.”

Carlsten said the building at this time is structurally unsound and is posing a risk to responders.

Emergency crews in Iowa responded to reports of the building collapse in downtown Davenport late Sunday afternoon.

During a news conference Sunday evening, Carlsten said officers and fire personnel responded around 4:55 p.m.

The chief said the back of the six-story apartment complex had collapsed and had separated from the building. Crews also found evidence of a natural gas leak, and water had leaked throughout the floors of the structure.

Carlsten said in the initial response that fire crews were able to rescue seven people and escorted more than a dozen others from the building. Medics set-up an on-site triage area but officials did not disclose the number of people treated for injuries on the scene.

The fire chief said the stability of the building is a big concern for rescuers and said there were secondary collapses as crews were working the site.

“Our focus is rescue right now,” Davenport Mayor Mike Matson told reporters during a Sunday evening news conference.

The mayor said rescue operations are continuing and a specialized unit to search the rubble for survivors has been requested, but he declined to give an exact or estimated number of casualties.

The city said the owner had taken out a permit for repair work to the exterior of the building and that work was underway at the time of the collapse. The city said reports of bricks falling from the building earlier this week were part of that work. The cause of the collapse is not clear at this point.