Rescue operations are underway after a partial collapse of a home in Davenport, Iowa
Rescue operations were underway Sunday night after part of a home collapsed in the eastern Iowa town of Davenport.
Authorities have not said if anyone was killed.
Authorities said the injured were being treated at the scene but gave no details on the number.
Rescuers were called to the scene of the accident shortly before 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Firefighters rescued seven people on their first call and escorted more than a dozen others out of the building, Davenport Fire Chief Michael Carlsten said at a news conference.
Carlsten said the rear of the six-story apartment complex collapsed, separating from the building, which has apartments on the upper floors and shops on the ground floors.
Authorities found a gas leak after the collapse, and water had leaked into the building’s floors, Carlsten added.
First responders were still searching for missing people on Sunday.
The stability of the building was an issue after secondary collapses while rescuers were on site, Carlsten noted.
“This is an active scene. We will continue to work and continue to evaluate with the goal of finding people and getting them out,” Matson said, adding that he spoke to Gov. Kim Reynolds, who offered to help.
Davenport police urged people to avoid downtown after the collapse.
A reunion area set up at St. Anthony’s Church on Main Street will be manned by Red Cross workers, Carlsten said.
The cause of the collapse was initially unknown.
Rich Oswald, director of development and neighborhood services for 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 permission for the project, Oswald said.
The Quad-City Times reported Robert Robinson, a second-floor resident, went outside and returned when an alarm went off in the building.
“As we made our way back, the lights went out,” he told the newspaper. “Suddenly everyone ran out and said the building had collapsed. I’m glad we came down when we made it.”
Robinson and his girlfriend made it down the elevator just in time, he said.
“It’s terrible,” he said. “We have nowhere to go. Nothing to eat.”
Tadd Machovec, a Davenport contractor, told the newspaper he was in the process of putting up a support beam when the building collapsed.
Some people in the area said the building had problems.
City officials said Sunday they had received several complaints from residents about needed repairs.
Jennifer Smith, co-owner of Fourth Street Nutrition, said she learned about the blast from her husband, who works for Mid-American Energy.
“He was on call and was called out about a downtown building explosion. We had no idea it was our building,” she said. “It sounds bad, but we’ve been calling the city and filing complaints since December. Our bathroom collapsed in December.”
Smith said water damage has been evident since they moved into their premises over the winter.
The company’s co-owner, Deonte Mack, said firefighters were only in the building for an inspection on Thursday.
“The tenants told us the building was going to collapse,” Smith said.
The Quad-City Times reported that the building is owned by Andrew Wold. A working phone number for Wold was not immediately available Sunday night and attempts to reach him for comment have been unsuccessful.
According to the county’s surveyor’s office, nearly 20 building repair permits were filed in 2022, mostly for plumbing or electrical issues.