Amid Demolition Talk, Residents Remained in Collapsed Building

2 women rescued Monday in Davenport, Iowa, including one in critical condition
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2023 10:30 AM CDT
Amid Demolition Talk, Residents Remained in Collapsed Building
Onlookers survey the Davenport on Main Street in Davenport, Iowa, on Monday.   (Nikos Frazier/Quad City Times via AP)

A ninth person was removed from a partially collapsed apartment building in Davenport, Iowa, on Monday, more than 24 hours after rescue efforts began. Footage showed 52-year-old Lisa Brooks speaking to protesters from an upper-floor window of the six-story building after city officials claimed the search and rescue operation had shifted to a recovery effort, NBC News reports. The uninjured woman reportedly hid under a couch after the initial collapse. "Get her out!" protesters chanted before rescue workers used a fire truck crane to get Brooks to solid ground. Many took her appearance as a sign that others could still be in the building, which officials had planned to demolish as soon as Tuesday in what NBC describes as a "relatively unusual" rush.

Hours earlier, Davenport Mayor Mike Matson and Fire Chief Mike Carlsten told reporters that rescuers and search dogs had combed through the building and weren't aware of anyone still inside, per the Des Moines Register. About a dozen people were immediately escorted from the structure after the collapse occurred around 5pm Sunday, while seven others were rescued soon after. An eighth person was rescued shortly before Brooks. Quanishia White-Berry, hospitalized in critical condition, had remained conscious for hours while pinned under rubble, her wife Lexus Berry tells NBC. Berry says the couple had noticed cracks forming in their fourth-floor unit on Saturday. The following day, the cracks had grown to the point that the couple decided to gather their pets and leave.

"I went to open up the door and blinked, and everything just caved in on us," Berry says. She adds her 24-year-old wife disappeared in a cloud of dust, while she was left on "a plank of laminate floor," just big enough to stand on. "Everything around me was gone." At least one other person was hospitalized as a result of the collapse. Carlsten, who spoke at a Monday morning news conference, said he didn't know the man's condition, per the New York Times. Officials didn't provide any other information on injuries. They'd planned to demolish the building due to the "imminent danger of [further] collapse," though Matson said that decision would be reevaluated following Monday's rescues. (More building collapse stories.)

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