‘Everything fell on top of me, and I barely made it out the door’: 6-story apartment building partially collapses, injuring at least 8 — rescue operation ongoing

News & Politics

A six-story apartment building in Davenport, Iowa, partially collapsed over the weekend, injuring at least eight people, authorities reported.

What are the details?

The collapse occurred shortly before 5 p.m. Sunday, according to Davenport Fire Chief Mike Carlsten.

“We are currently finishing the rescue phase of our operation and soon it will become a recovery operation,” Carlsten stated Monday.

After arriving at the scene, crews rescued eight people and escorted more than a dozen others from the building, using canines to search the debris. It is unclear at this time if anyone was killed or the total number of people who remain trapped.

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While the cause of the partial collapse of the building is still being investigated, Carlsten noted that fire crews discovered a large natural gas leak and water leaking from a broken pipe.

“Even while we were on scene, we still had multiple secondary drops of debris coming from that structure,” Carlsten said. “We want to make sure all our responders are able to process through in a safe manner, but we still want to get through there as quickly as possible.”

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds stated that “we will continue to work, continue to evaluate, with the whole purpose of trying to find people and trying to get them out.”

‘I barely made it out the door’

The Quad-City Times spoke with Lexus Berry, a tenant who just barely escaped the building at the time of the collapse but whose wife was still trapped inside.

Berry explained that she noticed structural issues inside their fourth-floor apartment in the days leading up to the partial collapse, and that she and her wife were trying to escape after the wall above their bathroom doorway separated.

“We both grab our cats, she grabbed one, I grabbed one, got to the door,” Berry said. “I watched her, and everything just fell down, and everything fell on top of me, and I barely made it out the door … I got out, but there was nothing left but where I was standing at. Everything else was gone.”

Anything else?

According to officials, the building’s owner had recently obtained permits to repair the structure’s exterior. In 2022, nearly 20 permits were filed for repairs, primarily regarding plumbing and electrical problems.

City of Davenport Director of Development and Neighborhood Services Rich Oswald stated during a news conference that brickwork was being done on the building’s exterior at the time of the collapse.

Officials reported that tenants had filed several complaints with the city regarding the building needing repairs, and one official said that “notices and orders were issued to the building owner for repairs.”

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