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Trained dogs join search at Davenport, Iowa, collapsed building

3 men still missing after Iowa building collapse
Search transitions to recovery for 3 missing men in Iowa building collapse 01:56

A team of highly-trained dogs have been deployed to assist in rescue efforts at a partially collapsed building in Davenport, Iowa, where three people are missing, officials announced Thursday night.  

The dogs are referred to as "live and cadaver canines," trained to detect humans, alive or dead, city officials said.

The team had been in contact with city officials since the collapse on Sunday, Chief Rick Halleran, director of Iowa Task Force One, said at a press conference Friday. Members of the task force were mobilized to assist in the early stages of rescue and recovery. 

Officials made a formal request for the team's assistance for additional support with recovery operations Wednesday. The state's Urban Search and Rescue Task Force returned the next day.

"We had to get some groundwork and things in place before we could have the team back," Davenport Fire Chief Mike Carlsten said. "The first 24 to 36 hours we were there, the facility was in a constant state of motion and we had to allow the building to settle before we could formalize a solid plan before we could have their team come back in and actually move forward."

Officials said almost 50 people were helping with the effort.

"That search was completed before sundown last night and that has allowed us to move to the next phase of our mission, shoring, securing the building for control and recovery," Halleran said. "Iowa Task Force One has installed exterior shoring on the walls deemed unsafe by our engineers."

When asked if anything had been discovered, Halleran said he couldn't disclose that yet.

The six-story apartment building collapsed shortly before 5 p.m. local time Sunday. Authorities had initially said five people were missing, but Davenport Police Chief Jeff Bladel said Thursday that two of them have since been contacted and are safe. One moved out a month ago and was found in Texas, and the other was found locally.

The three missing residents were identified as Branden Colvin, 42, Ryan Hitchcock, 51, and Daniel Prien, 60. The three men were described as having a "high probability" of being home when the building partially collapsed.

Davenport Police Department

Seven people were rescued early, officials said, and another was later pulled out. More than a dozen others were escorted out of the building as they were "self evacuating," Carlsten said.

The city later released documents, including structural engineering reports, that show the building's owner was warned that parts of the building were unstable.

An engineer's report dated May 24, just days before the collapse, suggested patches in the west side of the building's brick façade "appear ready to fall imminently" and could be a safety hazard to cars or passersby.

The engineer's report also detailed that window openings, some filled and some unfilled, were insecure. In one case, the openings were "bulging outward" and looked "poised to fall." Inside the first floor, unsupported window openings help "explain why the façade is currently about to topple outward."

"The brick façade is unlikely to be preserved in place, but it can be brought down in a safe, controlled manner," the report said.

Andrew Wold, the building's owner, released a statement saying "our thoughts and prayers are with our tenants" and that his company, Davenport Hotel LLC, is working with agencies to help them.

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