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Apartment Building Just Collapsed With People Inside

Officials won't yet say if everyone made it out, or whether anyone was killed
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 29, 2023 12:00 AM CDT
Updated May 29, 2023 4:20 AM CDT
Residents Were Concerned Iowa Apartment Building Would Collapse. It Did
Onlookers watch as emergency crews work the scene of a partial building collapse on the 300 block of Main Street , in Davenport, Iowa., Sunday, May 28, 2023.   (Nikos Frazier/Quad City Times via AP)

Rescue operations were underway Sunday evening after part of an apartment building collapsed in the eastern Iowa city of Davenport, the AP reports. Authorities have not said whether anyone was killed. Authorities said people were treated for injuries at the scene but did not detail how many. CBS 2 Iowa reports some residents are believed to be trapped inside. Rescuers were called to the scene shortly before 5pm Sunday. Fire crews rescued seven people and escorted more than a dozen others from the building in their initial response, Davenport Fire Chief Michael Carlsten said at a news conference. Carlsten said the back of the six-story apartment complex collapsed and had separated from the building, which houses apartments on the upper floors and businesses on the ground level.

Authorities found a gas leak after the collapse, Carlsten said, while water also had leaked throughout the floors of the structure. First responders were still searching for people who were unaccounted for Sunday. The stability of the building was a concern following secondary collapses while rescuers were at the scene, Carlsten said. “Our focus is rescue right now,” Davenport Mayor Mike Matson said at a news conference. “This is an active scene. We will continue to work, continue to evaluate, with the whole purpose of trying to find people and trying to get them out,” Matson said, adding that he spoke with Gov. Kim Reynolds, who offered assistance.

The cause of the collapse was not immediately known. Rich Oswald, with the city of Davenport, said at a news conference that work was being done on the building’s exterior at the time of the collapse. Reports of bricks falling from the building earlier this week were part of that work and the building’s owner had a permit for the project, Oswald said. Tadd Machovec, a contractor from Davenport, told the Quad-City Times he was inside and was working to put up a support beam when the building came down. Some people in the area said the building has had problems—and city officials said Sunday night that they had several complaints from residents about needed repairs. "The tenants told us the building was going to collapse," says one woman who recently moved in.

(More Iowa stories.)

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