1 Killed, 5 Hurt When Crane Collapses on Dallas Apartments - NBC Chicago
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1 Killed, 5 Hurt When Crane Collapses on Dallas Apartments

Dallas was under a severe thunderstorm warning when the crane collapsed

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Plans Begin for Cleanup of Collapsed Crane in Dallas

    One person is dead and five more are injured after a crane collapsed into an apartment building in downtown Dallas Sunday afternoon, according to Dallas Fire-Rescue officials. (Published Monday, June 10, 2019)

    A woman was killed and five others were injured Sunday afternoon when a crane collapsed into an apartment building in downtown Dallas, leading to several collapses within the building and an adjacent parking garage, officials say.

    Kiersten Smith, 29, was killed Sunday, June 9, 2019, when a crane collapsed into her Dallas apartment building. Photo courtesy of Smith's family.
    Photo credit: NBC 5 News

    Kiersten Smith, a 29-year-old resident of the Elan City Lights Apartments, was killed Sunday when the crane toppled and fell into the building, leaving a large gash in the five-story building.

    Smith was identified by the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office Monday morning, but an official cause of death has yet to be determined.

    Of those injured, two were listed in good condition, two suffered serious injuries and one suffered minor injuries and was later discharged from a hospital, Evans said. Their identities have not yet been confirmed.

    With the apartment building shut down after the collapse, approximately 534 residents are being kept away from their homes. They've been temporarily placed in hotels and given food vouchers.

    Crane Collapses in Thunderstorm

    Dallas Fire-Rescue was called to the Elan City Lights Apartment building in the 2600 block of Live Oak Sreet just before 2 p.m. According to the National Weather Service, a Severe Thunderstorm Warning was in effect at the time and winds of more than 80 mph had been recorded at nearby Dallas Love Field.

    Search crews prioritized the eastern side of the apartment building which sustained the most severe damage. (Published June 10, 2019)
    Photo credit: NBC 5 News

    DFR spokesman Jason Evans said the reason the crane fell is unknown, but there is a "strong possibility" that the winds "played some role in the collapse."

    Crews searching the building found the body of Kiersten Smith inside an apartment.

    Search dogs were brought in Sunday afternoon to look through the areas deemed unsafe for firefighters. All residents were accounted for by Sunday evening, fire officials said.

    "The building itself has suffered multiple collapses in different areas of the building to include residential spaces and the parking garage," Evans said.

    "Every single level of the parking garage, in part, has collapsed," Evans said, adding that multiple vehicles were damaged. He said he was not sure if anybody was in the garage at the time of the collapse.

    Every level of the parking garage at the Elan City Lights apartment building collapsed under the weight of the felled crane. (Published June 10, 2019)
    Photo credit: NBC 5 News

    Evans noted that every resident of an apartment damaged by the crane was either out at the time or was among those taken to hospitals.

    Across Dallas the storm felled mature trees and knocked out power Sunday, leaving many areas without working traffic lights.

    Resident Sterling Solomon said he noticed a lot of sand and debris outside his apartment building facing the construction site and went to look.

    "I just looked up and I hear the metal, 'Bling, bling, bling' and you just see the crane coming down into the building," he said.

    Isaiah Allen told The Dallas Morning News he was in his apartment when he heard what he thought was a deafening thunderclap. "I saw that the crane had actually fell straight through the building and had destroyed a good eight to 10 apartments and so there's like floors and stuff falling through," he said.

    Allen told the paper he saw a bloodied woman trapped in her apartment on the second floor.

    Yesenia Bosquez's family had moved into their top-floor apartment just two weeks ago. She returned from a shopping trip to find her apartment, where she'd left her husband, Jay, who was recovering from a shoulder injury, crushed by the twisted metal.

    It took about 30 minutes for authorities to tell her that her husband had been rescued alive and had been holding their dog while medics worked on his injuries.

    "It felt like a year," Bosquez said.

    Video shows that the downed crane ripped a large hole in the east side of the building and landed on an adjacent parking garage.

    The company that owned the crane, Bigge Crane and Rigging Co., said in a statement it was mobilizing personnel to the site to find out more about the crane collapse and would cooperate with any investigation.

    Bigge Crane and Rigging is well respected in the industry and has a solid safety record, safety expert Scott Weldon told NBC 5 Investigates. However, records show that over the last decade, OSHA has cited the company for 18 safety violations, some of which Bigge is still contesting.

    "I'm highly grateful. I could've been dead," resident Kevin Collins said. "The man next door sustained like very critical injuries to his neck. He could not move. He could not stand. Two people had to grab him and take him out."

    Collins' sister sustained a minor scrape on her leg as the crane crashed through just inches from their unit.

    After it was cleared, residents who lived in certain parts of the building were allowed to retrieve personal items, like medications and clothes. However, the building was closed after they left.

    OSHA representatives will come in to determine what exactly led to the crane collapse, Dallas Fire-Rescue said.

    Jake Bleiberg and Juan Lozano with The Associated Press contributed to this report.