Five people are unaccounted for after a historic Iowa apartment building partially collapsed, and officials said Tuesday that two of them are believed to still be inside the building.
Nine people have been rescued since the catastrophic structural failure of the 117-year-old, six-story complex in Davenport that happened just before 5 p.m. local time on Sunday.
On Tuesday, city officials said in a news conference that they are planning to search the apartment complex again and are consulting with fire experts and structural engineers to determine the safest way to do so.
The decision is an abrupt about-face, coming one day after Davenport officials said they’d demolish the structure on Tuesday morning after K-9 units found no survivors inside.
Hours after that Monday announcement, 52-year-old grandmother Lisa Brooks was rescued from her fourth-story apartment.
Fire Marshal James Morris said the rescue of Brooks was a “viable indication” that the city needed to look again at the structure for any more survivors.
Protesters had decried the demolition plans early Tuesday. Some were seen carrying signs that said “Davenport Deserves Better” and “Find Them First” as people chanted “Search and rescue!”
Davenport Police Chief Jeffery Bladel said Tuesday that five people are unaccounted for and “we have a firm belief” that two of them are “still potentially in that building.”
One of those still believed to be inside is Ryan Hitchcock. His sister, Amy Anderson, spoke at the press conference saying she supported the city’s demolition plans.
“Ryan wouldn’t want any one else to put their lives at risk,” she said. “I don’t discount that he could be trapped down there … we don’t want to see any more families lose their lives or anybody else be injured in trying to remove that rubble.”
She said she spoke with city officials the night prior and was promised that crews would search through the rubble of the building to uncover any possible remains.
Morris said the city’s goal is to search for additional occupants in the structure, but the building’s integrity has only worsened since the collapse and it “shifted” when crews were onsite.
“We are partnering with other entities as well as our department to respectfully remove any possible human remains with dignity,” he said.
The demolition plans are now “under evaluation” and are essentially on hold. Officials haven’t shared a concrete timeline on when another search or demolition will take place.
Davenport Chief Strategy Officer Sarah Ott said Tuesday morning: “The timing of the physical demolition of the property is still being evaluated. The building remains structurally insecure and in imminent danger of collapse.”
This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com