Former Davenport Hotel in Downtown Davenport (Antifascist Iowan/Facebook)
Authorities in Davenport, Iowa, have launched search and rescue operations following the partial collapse of a six-story apartment building on Sunday.
On Sunday, the Davenport Fire Department and Davenport Police Department responded to 324 Main Street for a report of a building collapse at approximately 4:55 pm.
According to the officials, emergency responders detected a large leak of natural gas as well as water coming from every floor of the building.
No immediate information was available on casualties or the number of persons who may be missing or trapped.
“There are people unaccounted for,” Mayor Mike Matson said. “Our focus is rescue right now.”
According to Davenport Fire Chief Michael Carlsten, seven individuals have been rescued from the building thus far, with more than a dozen others self-evacuating and being escorted to safety. The number of people who were injured and received treatment at the scene was not made public by the officials.
Antoine Rabbit Smith has two friends who were in the building at the time of the disaster, and he is anxiously awaiting word on their safety. He says one person missing is like a mother figure to him.
“I’m freaking out, and it hurts so much with just not knowing upon what’s gonna happen, if anything is gonna happen to the building right now. Like, I don’t know. I don’t know,” Smith told Fox 18.
No official word has been made on what caused the collapse.
#BREAKING: A Large apartment Building has partially collapses with reports of residents possibly trapped inside
⁰#Davenport | #Iowa⁰⁰Authorities are presently at the location of a building collapse in Davenport, Iowa after a significant apartment building has experienced… pic.twitter.com/WJmxFzxWXi
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) May 29, 2023
The mayor said rescue operations are continuing and a specialized unit to search the rubble for survivors has been requested but 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.
“The crews will continue to work through the night,” the chief said. “In fact, crews have started to enter the building again to do a secondary search and also start with the rescue of the debris pile we have at the bottom of the building.”
The department is also asking the public to avoid the downtown area.
Police say Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church, located at 417 N. Main St., is serving as a reunification point for the incident.
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