Tuesday 30 May 2023

Officials Plan To Demolish Partially Collapsed Apartment Building; Community Members Say Loved Ones Still Missing

 Officials in Iowa plan to demolish an apartment building that partially collapsed over the weekend, but some in the community say their loved ones are still missing following the disaster. 

A large section of the six-story building in the Eastern Iowa town of Davenport came crashing to the ground Sunday evening. Seven people were rescued immediately after, and an eighth person was rescued overnight Sunday. Davenport Fire Chief Carlsten said Monday morning that the rescue operation would soon “become a recovery operation” as there was no “credible information” of missing people still in the building, but a ninth person was saved from the wreckage Monday night — more than 24 hours after the collapse.

Lisa Brooks was pulled to safety from the 84-unit building after calling her daughter from the fourth floor in a section of the building that was still intact. Her family immediately alerted firefighters, who reached Brooks with a bucket and pulled her to safety, The Quad-City Times reported.

The timeline to find anyone still trapped in the building or the rubble is growing tight. According to a city news release, the safety of the surrounding area depends on demolishing the building as soon as possible. The city is in a dilemma as officials must choose how to proceed with search operations. Engineers said the debris pile at the bottom of the building is stabilizing the rest of the structure, and removing it “could jeopardize or accelerate the inevitable collapse,” according to CBS News.

After the most recent rescue, city officials appeared to revise their plan to demolish the building that was set to begin Tuesday morning. In a news release on Monday, officials had said the entire building was “in imminent danger of collapse” and “demolition is expected to commence in the morning [Tuesday].” But on Tuesday, Davenport Chief Strategy Officer for Administration Sarah Ott issued a statement that said the demolition “is a multi-phase process that includes permitting and staging of equipment that will begin today. The timing of the physical demolition of the property is still [being] evaluated.”

Police said Monday that they were working to make contact with everyone who lived in the building, but “there are unaccounted individuals that were residents of the property.” Authorities have not reported any fatalities, and it remains unclear what caused the section of the apartment building to suddenly collapse. Families gathered outside the building searching for answers as they tried to tell officials that they still had not heard from loved ones since the collapse, The Des Moines Register reported

Antoine Smith Sr. said he was still waiting to hear if his aunt and a friend had made it out safely. 

“I don’t want to come off in a negative way, but things like this, when they transpire and they’re not communicating, this is not winning over the people within the community,” Smith said. 


Branden Colvin, who lived on the fifth floor, is reportedly missing after relatives said he didn’t show up to a family gathering Sunday.

“He didn’t make it, so then we heard about this building collapse where he lived, and we just assumed he must have been in the building,” said Colvin’s aunt Johnnie Woods.

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