(WHBF) – Five people are still missing after an Iowa apartment partially collapsed over the weekend, including two people who may still be in the wreckage, according to Davenport Mayor Mike Matson.
One mother fears her son is one of those residents still inside the collapsed building.
“As far as I know he’s under the rubble,” Ryan Hitchcock’s mother, Linda Feliksiak, told Nexstar’s WHBF on Tuesday. “I want them to get him out.”
She hasn’t been able to reach him via mobile phone.
“They said they pinged his phone… the carrier. It’s supposedly over there,” Hitchcock’s stepfather, Pat Feliksiak, said as he pointed to the collapsed building.
Another family fears their loved one is still in the building.
Mike Collier told WHBF Tuesday morning that he believes his cousin, Brandon Colvin, is still in the building after he did not show up for a Memorial Day gathering. He’s also calling for the city to fully search the six-story building before it’s demolished.
“Those are his clothes,” Collier said, pointing to the building. “His clothes are still hanging up [in the closet].”
During a Tuesday press conference, Mayor Matson said the city has yet to decide when the partially collapsed downtown building may be demolished.
“This could be a place of rest for some of the unaccounted,” Matson said. The city is trying to determine how to bring down what remains of the building while maintaining the dignity of people who may have been killed, he said.
Demolition was set to begin as early as Tuesday but protests erupted Monday night after a woman was rescued from the rubble around 8 p.m. The city has since faced criticism as five people remain unaccounted for since the Sunday collapse.
Authorities say there were 53 tenants in the building, and the cause of the collapse remains under investigation. The 80-unit apartment is more than 100 years old, made of brick and steel.
“The building is in imminent danger of collapse, as it did on Sunday,” said Larry Sandhaas, senior structural engineer for Shive-Hattery. “The condition of the building is worsening over time. It’s brittle.”
The site used to serve as Hotel Davenport and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Rich Oswald, director of Davenport’s Development and Neighborhood Services Department, said the building was determined to be structurally sound, though exterior brick repair work was done, and was being done at the time of building collapse.
“The chief building official was satisfied with what engineering requested to repair,” Oswald said.
Davenport Hotel, L.L.C., owned by Andrew Wold, acquired the building in 2021 in a property deal worth $4.2 million, according to county records.
The city declared the building a nuisance in May 2022 “due to numerous solid waste violations” involving its overflowing dumpster, court records show.
Wold did not contest the nuisance declaration and inspectors noted similar problems 19 times between then and March 2023, records show. The city took civil enforcement action, and a judge ordered Wold to pay a $4,500 penalty after he did not appear in court.
Tuesday, the city filed a new enforcement action against Wold, saying that he had failed to maintain the property “in a safe, sanitary, and structurally sound condition” before the collapse. The city is seeking a $3,000 fine.
Fire Marshal James Morris said there will be an investigation into what caused the collapse but that it’s unclear so far whether a criminal investigation is warranted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.