Rescue operations were underway Sunday evening after part of an apartment building collapsed in the eastern Iowa city of Davenport.
Authorities have not confirmed whether there have been any fatalities.
Officials said the injured were being treated at the scene, but did not say how many.
Rescuers were dispatched to the scene shortly before 5pm on Sunday.
Davenport Fire Chief Michael Carlsten said at a news conference that the fire brigade had rescued seven people in the initial response and escorted more than a dozen from the building.
Carsten said the back of the six-story apartment building collapsed, separating it from a building with apartments on the upper floors and shops on the ground floor.
Authorities discovered gas leaks after the collapse, and water was also leaking across the floors of the building, Carsten added.
First responders continued to search for missing persons on Sunday.
Carsten said a secondary collapse occurred while rescue workers were at the scene, raising concerns about the stability of the building.
“This is an active scene. We will continue to operate and evaluate with the aim of finding people and getting them out,” Matson said, speaking to Gov. Kim Reynolds, who offered to help. added.
The Davenport Police Department urged people to avoid downtown after the collapse.
Carsten said a reunification area at St. Anthony’s Church on Main Street was serviced by Red Cross personnel.
The cause of the collapse was not immediately clear.
Rich Oswald, director of development and neighborhood services for the City of Davenport, said at a news conference that exterior work was being done on the building at the time of the collapse.
Oswald said reports of bricks falling from the building earlier this week were part of that work, and the building’s owner had a permit for the project.
of Quad City Times Second-floor resident Robert Robinson went outside and reported that an alarm had gone off in the building and that he had returned.
“As we started to return, the electricity went out,” he told the newspaper. “Suddenly everyone ran out saying the building had collapsed. Glad we got out when we did.”
Robinson and his girlfriend were able to get off the elevator just in time.
“This is terrible,” he said. “We have nowhere to go. We have nothing to eat.”
Davenport contractor Tad Machobek told the newspaper he was installing support beams indoors when the building collapsed.
Some people in the area said they had problems with the building.
City officials said Sunday that they had received several complaints from residents about necessary repairs.
Jennifer Smith, a partner at Fourth Street Nutrition, said she learned of the blast from her husband, who works for MidAmerican Energy.
“He was on standby and got a call about a building explosion downtown. He didn’t know it was our building,” she said. “I’m sorry, but we’ve been calling the city and complaining since December. Our bathroom caved in in December.”
Smith said water damage had become apparent since moving into their space over the winter.
Company co-owner Deonte Mack said the fire brigade was in the building for an inspection on Thursday as well.
“Tenants told us the building would collapse,” Smith said.
The Quad City Times reported that the building is owned by Andrew Wald. Waldo’s valid phone number was not readily available on Sunday night, nor was an attempt to reach him for comment.
Nearly 20 building repair permits were filed in 2022, mostly for plumbing and electrical issues, according to the county assessor’s office.