OAN’s Brooke Mallory
5:15 PM – Monday, June 5, 2023
A week after Iowa’s century-old building partly collapsed, the bodies of three men were recovered from the scene of the fallen six-story apartment complex, said Davenport’s police chief on Monday.
“We don’t have any other information at this time that there are any additional people missing,” Police Chief Jeff Bladel said.
In the meantime, lawsuits have been brought forth by some of the building’s occupants. One lawsuit, presented on Monday by Dayna Feuerbach, accused the city and the building’s owners, both past and present, of being aware of the building’s deteriorating circumstances yet failing to alert inhabitants to the danger. The identical claims were made in a second lawsuit filed by Mildred Harrington against the building’s current owner.
Both actions, including Feuerbach’s lawsuit, described many charges of negligence and seeks unspecified damages.
“The city had warning after warning,” said attorney Jeffrey Goodman, who represents Feuerbach. He called it a common trend in major structural collapses he’s seen. “They had the responsibility to make sure that the safety of the citizens came first. It is very clear that the city of Davenport didn’t do that.”
According to city documents that were made public last week and cited in the cases, the city of Davenport and the building’s owner, Andrew Wold, were informed over the course of months that there were issues about the integrity of certain structural components.
The director of a local organization connected to the chamber of commerce had reported a contractor’s worries about the durability of a wall in a 9-1-1 call made only a day before the partial collapse, according to a taping of the call. The dispatch log noted that city fire personnel arrived but spent less than five minutes on the scene.
The body of Branden Colvin Sr., according to the police chief, was found on Saturday. Daniel Prien’s body was found early on Monday, and Ryan Hitchcock’s body was found on Sunday. Colvin, 42, Hitchcock, 51, and Prien, 60, were previously mentioned by city officials as having a “high probability of being home at the time of the collapse.”
Authorities had declared the hunt for survivors to come to a halt before they eventually discovered all three men. In the first 24 to 36 hours following its collapse on May 28th, the apartment building’s remnants were constantly moving, putting rescuers in grave danger. However, now that the location has been stabilized, technicians are currently using an excavator and other heavy equipment to remove parts of the debris pile.
Officials stated that they were seeking advice from specialists on how to properly bring down the remainder of the building. Since it is situated in a busy area of downtown Davenport and is adjacent to other buildings, the municipal fire marshal previously stated that explosives should not be utilized.
Last Thursday, Mayor Mike Matson (D-Iowa) stated that any grievances regarding the rescue and recovery operation should be made to him rather than the first responders.
As of Monday, neither Matson nor any other municipal officials had spoken to Andrew Wold, the owner of the structure.
In a May 30th press release, Wold stated, “Our thoughts and prayers are with our tenants.” Since then, he has not released any more statements, and attempts to get in touch with him, his business, or his presumed lawyer have been futile.
According to county records, Davenport Hotel L.L.C. paid $4.2 million for the facility in a 2021 transaction.
Bladel said that with assistance from the state Division of Criminal Inquiry, Davenport police, and the medical examiner’s office, the Davenport fire marshal’s office had started an inquiry into the building collapse.
The governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa), visited the location on Monday morning and later tweeted that the state is offering assistance and resources while coordinating with local officials.
The question of why neither the owner nor local officials forewarned neighbors about potential risks is still one of the incident’s many unanswered concerns. Days prior to the collapse, a structural engineer’s study revealed that a wall of the century-old structure was in imminent danger of collapsing.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Monday, also names two businesses that Wold used to inspect and repair the structure, including the business of that engineer. All parties, according to the lawsuit, “recognized the imminent danger residents faced, yet allowed the building to deteriorate while failing to warn residents that their lives were in danger.”
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