DALLAS — Five weeks after the devastating and deadly collapse of a construction crane on the Elan City Lights Apartments in Dallas, management for the complex says the lengthy and high-involved process of returning belongings, furniture, and vehicles to residents has finally begun.

As WFAA first reported last week, Elan City Lights sent a three page written plan to former residents explaining how a private contractor, beginning with the first 184 units outside of the zone impacted by the crane, will inventory, pack, and move to temporary secured storage all of the personal belongings of each unit. Elan says the items will be photographed, boxed, bar-coded and stored by a recovery contractor and that individual residents will be notified when and where their belongings can be retrieved. 

"Due to concerns for your safety and restrictions in place for workers on the site, you will not be able to be present during the packing and moving of your belongings" Elan management said in the written statement.

But the frustration continues for the more than 500 former residents, including Camille Martin, who on the same day the announced recovery process was scheduled to begin, was finally moving into a new apartment complex in North Dallas.

"I'm actually getting a mattress delivered today, later this afternoon," she said standing in her new one bedroom apartment. It is the first place of her own since the crane collapse. In the five weeks since the accident she's been staying either with friends or in hotels. She has only the few clothes, photographs, and personal belongings she was able to retrieve in two 5-minute visits Elan allowed her shortly after the accident.

"Everything," she said of what she had to leave behind. "All my furniture, probably 95% of my clothes."

Phase 1 of the recovery process for the private property former residents were forced to leave behind was scheduled to begin Monday July 15th. Phase II, an additional 116 units in the zone impacted by the crane, is still in the planning stages - Elan telling residents "we will update residents in Phase II on the expected timing and process that will be followed as soon as we have further information."

Camille Martin's former apartment, most of her belongings, and her frustration, are stuck in Phase II.

"Initially we were told July 5th we could start picking up items," she said. "It's now July 15th and we have no timeline whatsoever. And then we have to worry about we don't know what kind of mold or mildew or heat damage."

Elan and Greystar continue to answer media inquiries with only written responses. In its most recent statement, apartment management wrote that "we wish we could provide you with a more definitive timeline, but we recognize that there are many factors still outside of our control."  

Units most impacted by the crane, 124 severely damaged units, still have not had electrical power restored and likely will not until the crane can be removed, the Elan statement says. The apartment complex provides no timetable for that either. Nor is there a timetable for Phases III and IV of the recovery process which includes the eventual removal of the vehicles still trapped in the apartment complex garage.

Elan continues to tell residents to direct their questions to the Elan City Lights team at (214) 965-6018 or at elancitylights@greystar.com.