DAVENPORT, Iowa — Part of a building collapsed in the town of Davenport in eastern Iowa late Sunday.
Several people have yet to be found, and at least seven people were rescued after at least six floors collapsed on one side of the building. It's not yet known if anyone was injured or killed, or if anyone was trapped.
The Davenport Police Department asked people to avoid downtown after a red brick building on Main Street collapsed. The department said on its Facebook page that a nearby church was being used as a reunification point.
The cause of the collapse around 17.00 is not known for certain.
The Quad-City Times reported Robert Robinson, who lives on the second floor of the building, walked out to quit smoking and came back in when the alarm went off.
“When we started to head back, the lights went out,” he told the paper. “Suddenly everyone started running around saying the building had collapsed. I'm glad we came down when we did.”
Robinson and his girlfriend managed to get the elevator down in time, he said.
“It's terrible,” he said. “We have nowhere to go. There is nothing to eat.”
Tadd Makhovec, a contractor from Davenport, said he was inside working on installing the support beams when the building collapsed.
Several people in the area said the building was problematic.
Jennifer Smith, co-owner of Fourth Street Nutrition, said she learned about the outburst from her husband, who works for Mid-American Energy.
“He was on the phone and called to a building explosion downtown. We didn't know it was our building,” he said. “Sounds terrible, but we've been calling the city and complaining since December. Our bathroom collapsed in December.”
Smith said the water damage had been visible since they moved into space that winter. The company's co-owner, Deonte Mack, said firefighters were at the building as recently as Thursday for checks.
“The tenants told us the building was going to collapse,” said Smith.
The Quad-City Times reports the building is owned by Andrew Wold. A working phone number for Wold was not immediately available Sunday evening and attempts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.
According to the county assessor's office, the last permit for the building was filed on March 2 and included “others” in its description. In 2022, nearly 20 permits were applied for, mainly for plumbing or electrical matters.
ABC News contributed to this report.