(CTN News) – According to authorities, at least eight people have been injured after a six-story apartment building partially collapsed in Davenport, a city in eastern Iowa, on Sunday evening.
Currently, we are in the process of finishing the rescue phase of our operation, and very soon it will begin to become a recovery operation,” Davenport Fire Chief Mike Carlsten said on Monday morning. It was decided to bring in dogs to help with the task.
Both Carlsten and Davenport Mayor Mike Matsen said that first responders who rushed in at their own peril saved many lives as a result of the incident.
The collapse took place shortly before 5 p.m. on Sunday, local time, Carlsten said in a statement. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the building to collapse.
A total of seven people were rescued at the start and another was pulled out overnight, officials said. Carlsten said that more than a dozen others had to be escorted out of the building as they were evacuating themselves.
Besides the rescued people, more than a dozen people were escorted out of the building as they were “self-evacuating,” according to Carlsten, who was in charge of the rescue operation.
To assist with the search of the debris, specialized rescue teams were called in to assist.
Sunday night, The Quad-City Times reported that an air ambulance landed nearby the scene of the accident.
“Everything just fell down on top of me,” one tenant told the newspaper, but her wife and cats remained inside.
According to Carlsten, fire crews discovered a “large natural gas leak.” Broken pipes were also dripping water, and gas and water lines had been shut off.
There was concern about the building’s structural integrity.
Despite being on scene, we still encountered multiple secondary drops of debris from the structure,” Carlsten said. As quickly as possible, we want to ensure all our responders are able to get through safely.
Building officials said the building’s owner had obtained permits for repairs to its exterior brick walls. Two other permits were issued to the owners for exterior brickwork last year, officials said. Over the last week, falling bricks have been reported from those repairs.
It has been reported to the city that a variety of problems with the building have been reported by tenants. Several notices and orders have been issued to the owner of the building for repairs.
About 70 miles east of Cedar Rapids, Davenport straddles the Illinois-Iowa border.