Breaking News
More () »

Woman killed after crane collapsed into Dallas apartment during severe storms

Kiersten Symone Smith, 29, was killed Sunday after a crane collapsed into an apartment complex. Five others were injured.

DALLAS — Updated at 6:50 a.m. Friday with an official cause of death for the woman killed in the collapse.

A 29-year-old woman was killed and five others were injured Sunday after a crane collapsed into Dallas apartment complex near downtown. 

Kiersten Symone Smith was killed in the collapse, and the five others were taken to area hospitals. One was quickly discharged, but the others remained hospitalized. 

The Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office on Friday ruled her death as a blunt force head injury accident.

Dallas Fire-Rescue responded to the crane collapse around 1:57 p.m. at the Elan City Lights apartment building at 2627 Live Oak Street.

Heavy rain and storms moved through the Dallas area Sunday afternoon, bringing winds as fast as 70 mph. 

Credit: Courtesy photo
Kiersten Symone Smith was killed Sunday in a crane collapse at a Dallas apartment complex during severe storms.

Trees and limbs were downed across the city. A billboard was knocked down, and winds ripped off a hangar roof at Dallas Love Field Airport. 

Smith and her fiance, Eric Ridenhour, were planning for a wedding this upcoming September. She graduated from Southern New Hampshire University and worked at Tenet Healthcare, according to a statement from her family.

"Kiersten’s death is unbelievable, shocking and unnecessary," the statement read. Her family describes her as an uplifting spirit that captured the hearts of everyone around her.  

More than 200,000 Dallas residents were without power Monday. 

Residents of the Elan City Lights apartment building remained evacuated Monday but were allowed to return briefly to grab belongings. 

Crews were onsite Monday morning to assess the damage. The crane is owned by the California-based company, Bigge Crane and Rigging Co. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were killed and injured, and to those that suffered property damage," said corporate counsel Randy Smith in a written statement. 

Smith said the company is prepared to "fully cooperate with investigating authorities." 

"We are mobilizing personnel to the site to find out more," Smith said in the statement. 

Residents were let back into their apartments Monday morning and given about five minutes to grab belongings. They were were escorted by firefighters into the building in groups by floor number. 

Several people were seen carrying animals, pet carriers and suitcases, and some were crying. 

Some residents have said they still don't know when they'll be able to return home. 

As of Monday night, they won't be able to return home at all. According to a Monday night letter to Elan City Lights residents from Greystar, the apartment building "has become totally unusable for residential purposes and [residents] will not be able to reoccupy [their] apartments."

"With that being said, we are here to help each of you in finding a new home," the statement continues. "All deposits and June rent will be refunded to you, without deduction. Refund checks will be available to leaseholders on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 after 3 p.m. at the Latino Cultural Center."

Two of the injured people were listed in good condition Monday afternoon, according to the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. 

All five stories of the eastern end of the building collapsed, officials said. The parking garage has also collapsed on all five stories.

With assistance from firefighters and dog search teams, DFR searched and cleared every unit in the apartment building that could be accessed, and "found that no one was inside those locations," according to DFR. 

People who lived in spaces that were inaccessible because of crane damage were confirmed to be out of the building, either as someone taken to the hospital or as someone who was contacted by property management.

Although the building was still structurally sound, apartment management made the decision to evacuate all residents after allowing them one by one, accompanied by a police officer or firefighter, back into the building to grab personal belongings. 

"For the undetermined future, management has secured living arrangements for its residents in a 'block of hotels,' set up a per diem system for food and established an 800 number for residents to call if they have questions that still need addressing," apartment management said in a statement.

Storm coverage on WFAA: 

Before You Leave, Check This Out