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Survivor of fatal Iowa building collapse sues owner Davenport

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Tenant Dayna Feuerbach has filed a lawsuit against building landlord Andrew Wold and his businesses, claiming they “recognize the imminent danger residents face, but let the building deteriorate. while failing to warn residents that their lives were in danger”. Feuerbach claimed in his lawsuit that the building’s owners tried to conceal evidence of imminent danger by painting the cracks in the exterior walls of the six-story structure. A Wold official finally responded to CNN’s requests for comment for the first time since the May 28 meltdown.

Wold spokesperson Harlan Loeb told CNN on Tuesday, “We are devastated by the building’s collapse and our hearts go out to everyone involved, those displaced, those injured and of course those who lost their lives. the life.” Asked about the matter, Loeb and Wold said they were aware of it, but it was “certainly secondary to the collapse (of the building)”. The City of Davenport declined to respond when asked to comment, citing “on the advice of an attorney, we cannot comment on ongoing litigation.” The contractors and engineers who worked on “The Davenport” are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that when Wold and his companies purchased the property “in late 2020 or early 2021,” they were repeatedly warned of the deterioration of the structure, but “completely and utterly failed to take action to effect the repairs. necessary and protect tenants. “The section of the wall that failed and caused this collapse was known to be dangerous and had been in urgent need of repair for years,” the lawsuit said. A brick facade had detached from the building’s interior wall, and it appeared “imminently poised to fall”, as noted in a letter from an engineer dated May 24 days before the structure collapsed. The engineer said the brick facade is unlikely to be retained in place, but it can be knocked down in a safe and controlled manner. Even the interior wall of the building seemed to lose its stability and “cause deformations”, the engineer said.

According to city records, a repair permit was issued the same day. A site inspection carried out on May 25 confirmed that maintenance had begun. However, the day before the collapse, on May 27, a 911 caller reported that a wall in the building was “swollen”, as reported by the Quad-City Times, which cited recordings of the calls. The identical section of the wall apparently collapsed unexpectedly on May 28, as evidenced by photos of city properties reviewed by CNN. Branden Colvin, Ryan Hitchcock and Daniel Prien are the three residents who perished in the disaster. City Mayor Mike Matson told reporters Monday that the city had received questions about the 911 call made the day before fall and wanted to “assure the public that we are looking into this.”

Loeb declined to respond to CNN’s inquiries about the renovations that began five days before the building collapsed. “We are working diligently to understand any construction issues,” Loeb said Tuesday. New information regarding the last ten minutes before the collapse has also surfaced. According to surveillance footage obtained by CNN from the roof of a nearby building, one of the five angled supports began to tilt, causing sections of the brick facade around it to collapse. On condition of anonymity, the owner of the camera told CNN the footage ended just as the structure collapsed due to a loss of electricity. The braces used to stabilize and protect the brick facade are identical to those detailed in a study carried out in May by a structural expert.

A private-sector engineer who accompanied city inspectors on their trips to the building this year wrote the report released by the city. A large piece of brick facade fell from under a second-story window about two minutes and 43 seconds before the collapse. A lower part of the wall appears to collapse near the ground 55 seconds before the collapse. The structure collapses in the last second before the end of the video. Firefighter Michael Feuerbach filed a lawsuit against the owners of the building, alleging that “despite knowledge of the inevitable nature of this collapse, neither Wold, the City of Davenport, or the licensed engineers ordered the necessary evacuation of the building. building”. The amount of compensation claimed is not specified in the lawsuit. The lawsuit adds that the woman wants “an amount that will fairly and adequately compensate her for the damages described herein,” as well as punitive damages, interest and court costs.

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