Residents sent running when a crane sliced though their Old East Dallas apartment building learned Wednesday that they’ll eventually be able to recover the belongings they left behind.
More than 500 residents of the Elan City Lights apartment complex on Live Oak Street, just east of downtown, had to evacuate after the crane collapsed during a sudden storm Sunday afternoon.
They won’t be allowed to move back in, but the apartment company, Greystar, said Wednesday it is working with disaster recovery contractors to retrieve residents’ personal belongings, pack them up and bring them to a storage facility. Contractors will also remove vehicles trapped in the parking garage.
The company said it was still working to determine whether contractors could safely recover personal property belonging to residents who lived in units that were made inaccessible by the damage.
A Greystar spokeswoman said Wednesday it was still too early to determine whether the Elan City Lights building would be torn down. The company has not said whether it plans to compensate residents for items that were destroyed.
Sunday’s accident killed 29-year-old Kiersten Symone Smith and injured five other people.
Smith’s family said in a statement Wednesday that she had recently gotten engaged to her fiance, Eric Ridenhour. The two were planning to get married in September.
“Instead of planning a wedding, our family is mourning her loss and struggling to make sense out of this tragedy,” the family said in a written statement. “Kiersten’s death is unbelievable, shocking and unnecessary.”
Another victim, 40-year-old Jay Bosquez, was still in the intensive-care unit with a broken neck, said Ragan Speer, one of Bosquez’s attorneys.
There’s too much swelling for Bosquez to undergo surgery, so medical staff are just trying to manage his pain, Speer said.
Bosquez lived at Elan City Lights with his wife and 8-year-old son, Speer said. But he was the only one home when the crane came crashing through his fifth-floor apartment.
He was able to save his puppy, Joey, and rescuers eventually recovered the family’s kitten, Bing, but “they’ve lost everything,” Speer said.
Speer said Bosquez and his wife, Yesenia, were grateful to police and fire crews whose work was “exceptional” in the wake of the collapse.
The attorney said the Bosquez family was waiting to determine whether they would file a lawsuit until after the cause of the collapse was determined.
“We are waiting to get the clearance from OSHA, and then we will go in and peel the onion back and find out what was the actual cause of it and who the liable parties are,” she said.
Greystar, the company that owns Elan City Lights and The Gabriella — the unfinished complex across the street where the crane stood — offered residents $500 and their last month’s rent back. The company has provided hotel accommodations for residents at least through Friday.
On Wednesday, the company said it would provide additional monetary allowances based on the size of the apartment and whether it was damaged.