Police said that three people remain unaccounted for after the collapse of a 116-year old building in Iowa on Sunday.
These three individuals have been identified as Branden Colvin (60), Ryan Hitchcock (50) and Daniel Prien (60).
Police said earlier this week that five people were missing. However, two of them have been found: One moved to Texas a month before and was located there and the other was found in Davenport.
Davenport police chief Jeffery Bladel stated that there is a “high likelihood” the three individuals missing were at home when the collapse occurred and are “in this collapsed space.”
He added, “All of the information we have received indicates that life is not possible in space.”
Davenport mayor Mike Matson stated that there is no timetable for demolition. Officials are working with experts to find the best way to safely destroy the building, while still acknowledging its “resting place.”
Documents show city interacting with owner of building over 100 times during the past three years
The city released documents and permits on Wednesday evening that showed a history and complaints from tenants and problems at 324 Main Street.
Reporters asked city officials during a press conference held on Thursday why the building was not shut down in spite of a number of problems. They said that the collapse “is a new thing for the city” and they believed a report issued by an engineering firm hired to inspect the building by the owner, which determined the structure as safe.
The documents released by the government have revealed some shocking revelations.
- Between 2020 and 2023, there were 145 interactions between Andrew Wold and the city.
- These interactions included a number of inspections and tenant complaints, including water coming from ceilings, faulty wiring, no heat for several months, overflowing trash, and worsening wall cracks.
- In a letter from Select Structural Engineering dated May 24, four days before collapse, it said that large patches of brick were “ready to fall imminently”. It gave repair recommendations to “keep the entire face of building from falling when the bottoms areas come loose.”
- Five “notices to vacate” were issued between 2020 and 2023 to different apartment units due to “substandard” conditions. This was after several inspections revealed that issues had not been resolved.
- In a letter dated 13 March, Fire Marshal Jim Morris stated that an inspection revealed several fire hazards, including faulty emergency lighting, fire doors which did not function properly and outdated smoke alarms. The letter stated: “The lack responsiveness on this property is unacceptable.”
- The building was also repeatedly warned that the city code inspectors would not be able to enter.
- The building was declared a nuisance due to solid waste violations in May 2022. The Associated Press reports that Wold was fined $4,500 for failing to appear at court.
- A city notice from Feb. 2, stated that a field inspection revealed issues which needed immediate attention. The notice stated that “part of south-west wall is gradually failing,” and “there is visible crumbling under the support beam of this exterior wall load bearing.” Also, it said exterior brick veneer had separated allowing rain and ice buildup to cause “further damages.”
There has been anger and frustration at the city for the way it handled the aftermath of the collapse and the collapsed building.
Wold was cited by the Scott County Court on Tuesday for failing to keep the building clean and safe. The city requested a fine of $300 plus court costs.
The citation stated: “The City of Davenport asks that the Court prohibit the defendant from violating any other provisions of the city code,”
Tom Warner, City Attorney Tom Warner stated that the citation had been filed to stop Wold from transferring property in order to avoid the demolition orders.
The court has set a date for June 9th.
The management of the historic Iowa apartment complex ignored their complaints for years about cracks in walls, lack of heating and air conditioning and plumbing problems.
When asked on Thursday if the city had to evacuate the building in order to prevent such an accident, Mayor Mike Matson said simply: “I feel the same anger and concerns.”
Property Owners cited
Wold will purchase the historic property by June 2021. Tuesday, he made his first public statement since the Sunday collapse.
Andrew Wold, the Village Property Management team and other signatories to a press release said: “Our thoughts and prayer are with our tenants during this difficult period.”
“We’ve been working with the American Red Cross, and other agencies, to help the tenants who were displaced by this incident. The statement stated that “we are eternally grateful for their assistance to our tenants.”