Investigators are trying to figure out what caused a crane at an Old East Dallas apartment building to collapse, killing one person and injuring several others.
The focus of the investigation is Sunday’s weather. The possibility of the severe weather was predicted days in advance. There was a severe thunderstorm watch about two and a half hours before the collapse.
Cell phone video of the crane collapse might provide clues about what went wrong.
Greg Marks is a former engineer who is now a personal injury attorney. He specializes in construction accidents.
“It looks like it went over backward,” he said. “I thought that was an interesting way for it to fall or collapse. Most of them don't collapse in that manner.”
The collapse killed 29-year-old Kiersten Smith and seriously wounded four others. Marks says most cranes are designed to withstand 140 mile-per-hour winds.
“It is very unlikely given the wind speeds were 71 miles an hour at Love Field that they were over 140 miles per hour at that height in Dallas,” Marks said. “Very unlikely.”
Bigge Crane and Rigging Company rented the crane to an operator. A spokesperson for the construction site developer, Greystar, has not said who the operator of the crane was. An attorney for Bigge said, “it’s terrible. Families' lives will never be the same." He said they have a team in Dallas meeting with OSHA to assist in whatever way they can.
There have been other deadly crane collapses in the news in recent years.
In 2016 in New York, a man who had just gotten out of his car died when a crane crushed several cars. Crews were bringing that crane down because of strong winds from a snowstorm. In April of this year, four people died when a crane collapsed at Google's new Seattle campus.
Some residents said the crane was shaking as strong gusts of wind moved across the area.
“Look at downtown now. Number of construction projects. Multiply that by the suburbs and everywhere else,” Marks said. “There's just not enough OSHA personnel to keep up.”
An OSHA spokesman said their Dallas office is continuing to investigate what happened. He says the investigation will be completed within 6 months.