‘I was alive and with family’: Tenant escaped with clothes on his back

Brock Nelson went from relaxing to running for his life.
Updated: Jun. 6, 2023 at 6:15 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Broc Nelson went from relaxing to running for his life.

He was playing a video game on Sunday afternoon, May 28, when he heard a heavy rush of wind, and the building started shaking.

“I looked outside and saw nothing but clouds of dust, and I knew what was going on immediately,” he said.

What was going on was that part of the building was collapsing, and he lived two apartments away from the sheer.

His next actions were pure instinct.

“I threw on some shoes and ran outside,” he said.

Nine days later, he hasn’t found a new home. Nelson has no ID and no possessions, and he’s staying with family until he can figure out what to do next.

As a survivor, he has plenty of questions.

“I don’t know how it got passed by the city. I don’t know how a building, literally across a parking lot in the street from City Hall, with visible, you know, bowing in the walls and cracks, could go ignored.

Who does he blame?

“Obviously, the ownership of the building and the property management company for ignoring these signs as well,” he said.

Nelson hung out with one of the men killed in the collapse, Ryan Hitchcock.

So not only is he dealing with his loss, Nelson’s mourning the loss of a friend.

And he’s also thinking of other residents of properties owned by Andrew Wold, the owner of The Davenport.

His advice is to find a new place to live.

Nelson said he is grateful for the outpouring of support.

“I think the community outreach has been really powerful. And I’m very thankful for the Quad Cities community, and the downtown Davenport community in particular in this time.”

Nelson and others are calling for policy changes. He wants crackdowns on problem landlords and more options for renters.

“I would like to see the city, the states, nationwide sort of effort to prevent this sort of negligence and its predatory housing markets, you know, to exist,” he said. “People have a right to live, people have a right to have a home. And there’s plenty of space for it. But we priced them out because it makes a few people more money.”