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Reynolds says federal government denied request for assistance in collapse site cleanup

A tweet from Gov. Reynolds says the White House denied the request. However, it was actually FEMA that denied it.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — In a letter to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied her second request for federal assistance for cleaning up the remnants of 324 Main St. in Davenport.

The building partially collapsed over Memorial Day weekend, killing three men and leaving dozens without their homes and belongings. Reynolds requested assistance via the Public Assistance program for Scott County twice, first on June 6 and again on June 20. 

On Friday, June 30, Reynolds tweeted an image of the letter, saying, "The White House has determined that 'the severity of the [Davenport building collapse] does not warrant an emergency declaration.'"

The governor's tweet also says Iowa still has another request for a Major Disaster Declaration pending.

News 8's sister station in WOI-TV in Des Moines reached out to the White House for comment Friday morning. They said the letter and determination are from FEMA, not the White House. FEMA Region 7 confirmed they sent the letter to Reynolds.

FEMA External Affairs Director Mike Cappannari told WOI reporter Connor O’Neal that the agency took the extent of the disaster, the community impact and the estimated cost of assistance into consideration before denying Gov. Reynolds’ request for federal assistance.

FEMA also said that the response and recovery to the collapse wasn't beyond the capability of local and state resources. In other words, FEMA believes Scott County and Iowa are able to respond to the site themselves, without federal funding, supplies and personnel.

FEMA and the state of Iowa differed on the estimated cost of assistance to remedy the site in Davenport, which ultimately led to the decision to deny Governor Reynolds' request for help.

Reynolds can appeal FEMA's denial. It needs to be submitted to the president through FEMA Region 7's regional administrator.

Watch more coverage of the Davenport collapse on News 8's YouTube channel


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