Woman rescued unharmed 24 hours after partial Iowa building collapse

After a 52-year-old woman was pulled unharmed Monday evening from the partial collapse of a Davenport, Iowa, apartment building, the city’s mayor said a previously announced plan to quickly demolish the building is “under evaluation.”

Lisa Brooks was found hiding under a bed on the top floor of the six-story structure for more than 24 hours, authorities and family members said.

Relatives said she heard the destruction, felt part of the building collapse on Sunday and responded with a fight-or-flight instinct: She ducked under the furniture and stayed there.

She appeared to be in the unharmed section and when her phone started working again, she called for help, family members said.

He was greeted by 100 or so onlookers Tuesday morning, even as some staged impromptu protests against the city’s decision to demolish the 116-year-old building.

An emergency, including a transition from search and rescue to rescue, is relatively uncommon. In 2021, search and rescue efforts continued for two weeks after a condominium complex collapsed in Surfside, Florida, although it was much larger than the Davenport structure. In the end, 96 people died.

Lisa Brooks was rescued more than 24 hours after her apartment building partially collapsed in Davenport, Iowa. Travis Vandivier

Brooks was the second person to be rescued from the building after seven people were initially pulled out after the collapse around 5pm on Sunday, officials said, bringing the number of people rescued to nine.

A woman trapped in the rubble was rescued Monday morning and hospitalized in critical condition, officials and family said. His wife identified the patient as Guanitia White-Berry.

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An additional dozen or so residents were immediately evacuated with the help of first responders, Davenport Fire Chief Mike Carlston said.

At a news conference Monday morning, Carlston said the operation would shift into recovery mode, and the city announced the transition early in the morning.

“Demolition is expected to begin in the morning,” the city said.

People look at a six-story apartment building after it collapsed on May 29, 2023 in Davenport, Iowa. Scott Olsen/Getty Images

Rescue mode refers to the hope that no survivors will be found. One factor is the apparent instability of the brick-topped steel and concrete building, which began life as the city’s flagship hotel in 1907 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

At a news conference Monday, Carlston said the condition of parts of the building posed a danger to anyone inside, including rescue crews. “The building is structurally unsound at the moment,” he said.

City officials scheduled a news conference for Tuesday at 10 a.m. local time (11 a.m. ET).

Correction (May 30, 2023, 12:36 pm ET): An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated when White-Berry was recovered. She was pulled out Monday morning, not evening.

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