On June 9, 2019, a Texas storm caused a crane to crash into Elan City Lights apartment, killing a 29-year-old resident and injuring many others. Located off of Live Oak Street near Highway 75 and Good-Latimer Expressway, officials were called to the apartment complex at about 2:00 pm that fateful Sunday afternoon. According to the fire department, an adjacent tower crane collapsed  onto the apartment complex and parking structure due to heavy winds from the storm. The five-story building sustained the most damage on the east side, and the adjoining parking garage was also damaged.
The only fatality was identified as Kiersten Symone Smith, a woman rescuer found trapped inside one of the units that had been hit by the crane. In addition to Smith, five other Elan City Lights residents were injured and transferred to Parkland Memorial Hospital and Baylor University Medical Center.
Since the June incident, many of the individuals injured in the collapse have filed lawsuits with the guidance of the workplace accident lawyers at Shamieh Law. These lawsuits name numerous defendants in the incident, including:
- Bigge Crane and Rigging Co.
- Elan Dallas City Lights
- Gabriella Tower
- Gabriella Nationwide
- Housley Communications (The Housley Group)
- Greystar Development & Construction
The plaintiffs in this monumental lawsuit believe gross negligence factored into the personal injuries and property damages incurred, in addition to the loss of life, of course. If you were injured in a Dallas crane accident or a similar incident, we encourage you to contact Shamieh Law today and schedule a consultation. We understand how sensitive these cases can be and will do everything we can to ensure justice is served. As we are with the plaintiffs in the case against those responsible for the crane accident in June, we can help you seek retribution for your damages.
Crane Collapse Kills Elan Lights Resident
It was a sunny day in June, and residents of Elan City Lights were enjoying the weather, lounging by the pool, golfing, and spending time outdoors with loved ones. A little before 2:00 p.m., the weather took a sudden turn as a thunderstorm moved in. As the clouds settled in and the winds picked up, 100-year-old trees fell, furniture went flying, and a construction crane came crashing down.
According to residents of the Dallas apartment complex, a “loud boom” could be heard throughout the area, confusing those who heard the noise. While construction had been going on across the street for some time now, it never occurred on a Sunday. Unfortunately, a crane that was attached to The Gabriella apartment complex (located across the street) started swaying under the force of the summer storm. Although the crane should’ve been able to withstand winds up to 95 mph, the Peiner SK 415-20  did not. All plaintiffs in the lawsuit were in various parts of the building yet have similar stories.
One resident (27-year-old UFC fighter Macy Chiasson)  grabbed her phone and dog as she heard the crane come crashing down, while another was in the parking garage as it started to collapse. Tragically, Kiersten Smith wasn’t so lucky. In addition to the loss of Miss Smith’s young life, a handful of residents sustained injuries, two of which were critical. A reported 534 residents of the Elan City Lights building were displaced because of the collapse. They have been told they will not be able to return to their apartments.
Dallas Apartment, Crane Company Face Lawsuits
The crane that collapsed onto the Elan City Lights apartments was, as mentioned above, assisting with the construction of The Gabriella apartments. This apartment complex was owned by Greystar Development & Construction, the same company that owns Elan City Lights, and also a defendant in the lawsuits brought by Shamieh Law. Following the actual collapse of the crane, it remained stuck in the building for several months while the construction company attempted to get it out. This was, as you can imagine, very controversial and has hindered any efforts to get out trapped vehicles and personal belongings.
At the end of September, the crane was finally removed.
On October 4th, the apartment’s management team announced via a Facebook post  that the parts of the building and parking garage that were still standing had been assessed. On Monday, October 7th, any residents with vehicles trapped in the garage could start the reclamation process. According to the statement, “the planned order of retrieval will be from the top floor of the parking garage and proceed downward to the ground level.” It continued: “barring any unforeseen circumstances, we expect to recover and transport approximately 10 to 12 vehicles per day.” Albeit good news, this announcement was met with frustration from complex residents, as the management team has done little to communicate over the last several months.
Why did the crane collapse?
This incident has left many Dallas residents wondering what happened. The crane, a popular Peiner SK 415-20 model, should’ve been able to withstand the winds, just as other cranes throughout the city did. However, photos showing the base of the crane shows a “failure point” on the second or third floor of The Gabriella. In the event the crane’s mast exceeded the free-standing weight, it is possible the winds could’ve caused it to come crashing down, as it was not properly secured. It is also possible that the operators of the crane did not use the correct fasteners, or that the manufacturer missed a structural defect that caused the crane to come down.
In the lawsuits brought by Shamieh Law, we plan to get to the bottom of this cause and others.
Common Causes of Crane Accidents
Crane collapses are rare, but they do happen. Due to their sheer size and volume, crane accidents often result in death or serious injuries. It is imperative that all construction companies take the proper precautions to ensure these large pieces of machinery are handled with care. When this does not happen, innocent people like Kiersten Smith and the other victims of the Elan City Lights accident are at risk.
Some of the most common causes of crane accidents in Dallas and throughout the country include:
- Mechanical failure
- Improper maintenance
- Crane was assembled or disassembled incorrectly
- Failure to adequately train any workers or crane operators
- Swinging loads
- Dropped loads
- Failure to properly secure the base of the crane
- Improper load capacity
Usually, crane accidents occur because of negligence on the part of the manufacturer, construction company, or crane operator. The workplace accident lawyers at Shamieh Law are working hard to gather all the evidence necessary about this case in order to ensure justice is served. If you were injured in the Elan City Lights crane accident or another accident in the Dallas, Austin, or Lake Charles area, give Shamieh Law a call today to schedule a free consultation.