Following the miraculous rescue of a 52-year-old woman from a partially collapsed apartment building in Davenport, Iowa, the city’s mayor announced that the plan to demolish the structure was now “under evaluation.”
Lisa Brooks, who had spent over 24 hours hiding beneath a couch on an upper floor of the six-story building, was safely retrieved thanks to her remarkable instincts and resilience, according to authorities and her family.
Having taken refuge in an unaffected unit, Brooks reached out for help as soon as her phone began working again. As she emerged from the wreckage, a crowd of approximately 100 onlookers greeted her warmly, despite some individuals staging impromptu protests against the city’s decision to demolish the 116-year-old building as early as the following morning.
The urgency to tear down the structure and transition from search-and-rescue to recovery is relatively unusual. In contrast, during the collapse of a condominium complex in Surfside, Florida, in 2021, search-and-rescue operations persisted for two weeks in a much larger building, resulting in the tragic loss of 96 lives.
Lisa Brooks became the second person to be rescued from the building after the initial retrieval of seven individuals following the collapse on Sunday at 5 p.m. An additional woman trapped in the rubble was rescued on Monday morning but remained in critical condition. Davenport Fire Chief Mike Carlsten confirmed that a dozen or so residents were able to evacuate with the assistance of first responders.
During a news conference, Chief Carlsten announced the transition to recovery mode, signifying a belief that no more survivors would be found. The decision was influenced by the precarious state of the remaining portions of the building, which pose risks to anyone inside, including rescue crews.
The structure, originally built as the city’s premier hotel in 1907 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, consists of brick-over-steel and concrete, adding to its instability.
The city announced that demolition work was scheduled to commence the following morning, emphasizing the importance of ensuring public safety in light of the building’s compromised condition.