Davenport city officials held a press conference this morning to give an update on the building collapse yesterday at Third and Main Streets.
“The community’s here to support them in any way we can,” said Mayor Mike Matson. “For those in the community that are looking to assist victims, the Red Cross is coordinating community response for the victims. I want to take a special attention to our fire (department), whose folks immediately went into that building, no concern about themselves, only the concern was, can they assist and help anybody to get them out and to assist anybody in that building.”
“Currently when something like this happens here, our responders immediately do their work and do their job and I can’t thank them enough. Our community responds, the outpouring of support, the outpouring of offers of assistance at the state level, the county level, the community level, other cities… I can’t say enough about that in the magnitude of our work with our partners.”
Matson praised the speedy responses of the Davenport Fire Davenport Police Davenport Public Works Davenport Development Neighborhood Services, Bettendorf Fire, Moline Fire, Rock Island Fire, Rock Island Arsenal Fire Department Iowa Task Force One, Mavis 43 and 39, Orthopedic Specialists, Genesis Hospitals and doctors, MedForce, Scott County Emergency Management, Scott County Emergency Communications, Scott County GIS, Scott County Health Department, Bettendorf Police, Scott County Sheriff, Iowa State Patrol, American Red Cross, Shive Hattery, MidAmerican Energy, Iowa American Water and Valley Construction to the incident.
“They were all coming with the sole purpose of ‘how can I help, how can I assist and how can I get the victims taken care of,’” Matson said.
Mike Carlsten, Davenport Fire Chief, updated the media on the recovery efforts.
“Our rescue operations have continued, we were able to locate one victim and we were able to extract them from the building,” he said. There is no word on the individual’s identify or condition. “That was done with a lot of the teamwork and partners that the mayor actually talked about here a few minutes ago. Iowa Task Force One, the Cedar Rapids division arrived overnight, and they began additional search and rescue operations assisted by canine units.
“They’ve been working throughout the night, and they are still on scene at this time. We’ve had multiple structural engineers who have been on site throughout the night to provide technical guidance for our rescue efforts,” Carlesten said.
“We are currently finishing the rescue phase of our operation and soon it will become a recovery operation. If anyone is concerned about a possible missing loved one or unknown person, please contact 911 with this information. At this time, the building is structurally unsound. It’s posing a risk to responders, but we are actively working for the best course of action for the building. We have a continued concern for stability of the building, and we continue to ask the public to avoid the area.”
Streets in the area have been blocked off and nearby buildings have been marked with official signs saying they are unsafe to enter.
Chief Carlsten said he believes a total of six search and rescue dogs have been brought in at this point by Iowa Task Force One. Some of the dogs are live search dogs who are looking for trapped individuals while others are cadaver dogs.
“It’s been their crews that have kind of managed that aspect of the recovery or the rescue,” said Carlsten. “We’ve been doing everything we can to move as fast and as efficiently as we can. I think it’s too early for us to come up with anything at this point, but as soon as we finish our recovery phase and we figure out that we don’t have any other victims, then we’ll work with our Building Department and move on to the next step.”
There had been complaints made to the city about the building, but Chief Carlsten said the investigation is still in the preliminary stage. “Once the Fire Department releases the scene, we’ll begin an extensive investigation to find out what exactly caused this, but we’ll be working on getting information from the engineer group that the building owner hired to direct the repairs.”
They’re coordinating with the Red Cross to arrange for shelter for residents and make sure they have cell phones or other means of communication. Some residents reunited with family members at St. Anthony’s Church yesterday and were able to stay with them while seven adults and a child were sheltered at CASI.
Local 4 has reached out to Andrew Wold, the owner of the building for a comment, but he has not yet responded.