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Davenport apartment collapse: residents, bystanders react to looming demolition

Residents of the building that partially collapsed on May 28 cannot return to collect their belongings, as the city deemed it unsafe and plans to demolish it.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Reactions range from confusion, shock, frustration, anger and worry as demolition of a partially collapsed apartment in Davenport nears.

As of the initial publishing of this story, the city of Davenport is planning on demolishing the building called 'The Davenport' on 324 Main Street, deeming the building too unstable. That demolition was planned for the morning of May 30.

However, that means residents will not be able to enter the building to collect any belongings.

The news shocked mother Toriana Hill, who did not learn about it from the building owner.

"A friend called and told me it was gonna get torn down and I'm like, 'I don't think so, I didn't hear anything about it," Hill said. "Not even an hour later, I had received a call from the sheriff and I asked him, and he was like 'yes, they are demolishing it tomorrow.' Nobody can get their stuff, so everything I worked for is gone."

Hill, a Rock Island USPS worker, said the situation puts her and her 3-year-old son in a tough situation.

"I just beat homelessness last year, and now I'm right back where I started," she said. "Yep, yep, pretty frustrated."

She expressed frustration towards management of the apartment building.

"It's crazy, it's crazy that you all keep taking people's money and now we have no place to go," Hill said.

On Monday afternoon, dozens of bystanders were looking at the partial destruction behind chain-link fences.

"You see it on TV, it's one thing, but when you come down here and see it in person, it's just devastating," Cindy Tobey said.

Tobey, a photographer from Savannah, IL was visiting her daughter who lives near the damaged building in Davenport.

"It just brought tears to my eyes seeing it, and thinking that there could be someone underneath the rubble," she said. "It's horrible — all those people with nowhere to go. What are they gonna do? Nobody expected anything like this to happen for sure — just devastating."

As of the initial publishing of this story, many questions are still unanswered, despite several press conferences by Davenport city officials which included mayor Mike Matson, fire chief Mike Carlsten, and neighborhood services director Rich Oswald.

Those questions include the amount of people unaccounted for, the amount of injuries and deaths if any, and possible causes of the partial collapse.

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