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Multiple structural issues caused an apartment building in Davenport to collapse that killed 3 residents, an inquest finds

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Multiple structural problems led to the partial collapse of a building in Davenport, Iowa, in May, killing three people, according to a report released Thursday.

Commissioned by the city and performed by Iowa engineering firms White Birch Group and SOCOTEC Engineering, the report identified improper support for a wall under construction as the primary cause of the partial collapse of the six-story building.

Residents Branden Colvin, Ryan Hitchcock and Daniel Prien were killed in the Memorial Day weekend collapse that destroyed dozens of apartments.

The building was undergoing masonry repairs on its west wall before the collapse. The lack of support in place during these repairs directly led to the collapse, investigators found.

“The temporary shielding that had been installed was entirely inadequate,” the investigators wrote. “Had a proper shoring and phased construction plan been implemented during these repairs, the building would not have partially collapsed on May 28, 2023.”

Investigators also identified several “immediate” causes, including misidentification of the poorly supported wall as non-structural and several deficiencies related to monitoring and documenting ongoing repairs to the building.

Investigators noted that the repairs were poorly supervised in a “dangerous, incomplete and improper” manner.

“We retained the services of the consultants who responded to the 2021 Surfside condo collapse, and promised the public that we would share their findings,” Davenport Mayor Mike Matson said in a statement released with The report.

Building owner Andrew Wold pleaded guilty in June to a civil offense for failing to maintain safe conditions in his building. Wold was ordered to pay a $300 fine and $95 in court costs, according to a filing in Scott County Court.

Wold’s lawyers confirmed in June that he had “admitted liability for a municipal infraction in civil court”, adding that their client believed the fine was “appropriate given the deeply tragic collapse of the building”.

In addition to the fine, Wold was ordered to “refrain from any violation of the provisions of the Davenport, Iowa (building) code,” CNN affiliate KWQC reported.

Wold is also among many parties facing at least two lawsuits from residents of the building. Both lawsuits allege, among other things, negligence on the part of the owner and the City of Davenport.

A lawsuit claims the building was substandard and alleges the complaints had been known for some time, and seeks an unspecified amount of money. Another lawsuit also claims that Wold and the city knew of the dangers but failed to warn residents.

The city of Davenport previously declined to comment on the pending litigation, citing the advice of its attorneys.

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