Renowned engineer: Investigate failure of The Davenport now

5 p.m., Friday, June 2, 2023, New Tonight, Building Collapse Expert Speaks Out
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 7:06 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - A renowned expert on building collapses speaks out about The Davenport disaster -- what might have caused it, and what officials should do now?

Allyn Kilsheimer is the structural engineer who led the investigation into the condo collapse that killed 98 people in Surfside, Florida, and was an investigator at the 9/11 Pentagon crash site.

He’s been following the developments about the partially collapsed apartment building in downtown Davenport.

Kilsheimer said Davenport officials probably did the right thing by balancing the safety of first responders and the people who may remain trapped in the rubble.

The tragedy would have been much worse if the building collapsed while first responders were inside, he said.

Leaving the debris from the collapse in place is the right move. Kilsheimer said authorities need to keep as much of the building intact and in large pieces so investigators can find what triggered the collapse.

He said the investigation needs to begin immediately, and it must be an outside party that conducts it.

Finally, Kilsheimer emphasized that the building needs to come down strategically and as carefully as possible, essentially in large chunks, so it’s easier for investigators to literally piece together what happened.

Kilsheimer has worked as a structural engineer since 1959 and founded Washington, DC-based KCE Structural Engineers, PC, in 1968.

The firm has traveled the world as consultants, specializing in emergency investigations, failure analysis, reconstruction.