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Dallas building Elan City Lights crushed by crane is shuttered for good

Dallas building Elan City Lights crushed by crane shuttered for good

Elan City Lights
Elan City Lights building, taken 15 minutes before the crane fell. Photo courtesy of Mark Wagner

Elan City Lights, the Dallas residential building that was hit by a falling crane during a violent storm on June 9, has been deemed uninhabitable.

Tenants received written notice from Greystar, the building's owner, notifying them they will not be able to return to their apartments.

"Dear residents," the letter said. "Our deepest thoughts and sympathies are with you and your families during this difficult time. Unfortunately, the building has become totally unusable for residential purposes, and you will not be able to reoccupy your apartment."

The letter also said that management would return June rent in full, as well as security deposits, and help tenants find a new place to live.

Elan City Lights had more than 500 residents, who have been put up in area hotels such as The Omni Downtown, and allotted daily stipends of $100.

They were given a short window on June 10 to retrieve a few items from their apartment before being escorted out of the building.

The building was crushed by a crane that fell over during the storm; one woman, Kiersten Symone Smith, 29, was killed and at least four others were injured.

The storm also knocked out power for more than 350,000 residents.

Oncor has thus far restored power to more than 200,000 customers, but many neighborhoods and businesses are still dark. Oncor estimates that the majority of customers will have their power restored by late Wednesday, but that may stretch into Thursday.

The crane accident is being investigated by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is working with Bigge Crane and Rigging, the crane's owner, to determine the cause.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the crane is specified to withstand winds of up to 95 mph. Winds only got up to 71 mph in the storm.

An expert told the newspaper that a crane's brake should be unlocked so the crane arm can swing freely, which would prevent it from crashing during winds. A second crane at the site stayed stable during the storm.

Bigge has been fined $154,525 for 14 OSHA violations, including an accident in Arkansas in 2013 at a nuclear power plant in which one of its cranes collapsed and killed a worker and injured eight people.

As part of its compensation, Greystar offered units on a first-come first-serve basis at its other properties, such as the Arpeggio on Victory Avenue, the Alexan on Harry Hines Boulevard, and Fitzhugh Urban Flats, with a $500 allowance and a waiver of all fees.