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Crane company claims high winds cause of collapse that killed woman

Bigge Crane and Rigging released a statement Thursday, saying the company believes the crane was properly secured the day before the collapse.

The crane collapse that killed a woman during storms June 9 was caused by "extreme local wind conditions," according to the company that owns the crane. 

Kiersten Smith, 29, was killed and five others were injured in the crane collapse. Smith lived on the second floor of the apartment building and was at home with her fiancé when the crane toppled. 

Bigge Crane and Rigging released a statement Thursday, saying the company believes the crane was properly secured the day before the collapse and said high-powered winds were the cause of the collapse. 

"It is our understanding that the operator has said that when he completed his work the prior day, the crane was placed in the appropriate out-of-service mode per the crane manufacturers requirements," a spokesperson for the company said in a written statement. 

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Credit: Eric Ridenhour

The crane was leased by Greystar Development and Construction in April 2018 for work on an apartment project near the Elan City Lights building. 

Greystar had also leased a second tower crane from Bigge, but that crane had already been removed from the site before the storms, according to the company spokesperson. 

The company is waiting for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation to determine the official cause. 

OSHA has up to six months to complete the investigation.

"All parties are fully cooperating with government regulators, including the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration," Bigge officials said in the written statement. 

OSHA is still on scene investigating the collapse, and residents remain displaced. 

After OSHA clears the scene, Bigge and Greystar will then remove the crane, said Larry Bowman, an attorney representing Bigge. 

Credit: WFAA
A tower crane collapsed into an apartment building during storms June 9. A 29-year-old woman was killed.

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The tower crane that collapsed was built in 2016. It had only been used in a job in California and in Dallas. 

Once the crane is removed from the apartments, it will be stored in a warehouse for further investigation by OSHA and attorneys. 

Bigge said "safety is our number one core value" and the company adheres to industry safety standards. 

In Thursday's statement, the company alleges news coverage of the incident has been inaccurate but did not offer examples nor clarify what has been wrong. 

Apartment management sent a notice to displaced residents saying they will not be able to retrieve their belongings this week. 

"While we previously communicated that the process to move your personal belongings would begin this week, there are factors beyond our control that are delaying this process," apartment managers told residents. 

A move-out plan will need to be approved by OSHA before the displaced residents can get their cars and belongings. 

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