Residents impacted by crane collapse could soon have their items back

Some good news is coming for the former residents of the Elan City Lights Apartments.

On Monday, movers will go into the Dallas apartment complex damaged by a crane collapse to pack up and bring out belongings from units that have sat vacant for the past five weeks because it was too dangerous for anyone to get inside.

Residents have been without most of their things since the crane collapsed onto the apartment building on June 9.

The whole ordeal has been a challenge as they try to live their lives without their personal belongings, and in some cases, without transportation.

A toppled crane has made things complicated for the apartment management team as they sort out how to remove belongings and then move that massive crane.

It’s not yet known when the crane will be removed, as there is currently no timeline, but some residents will be getting their things back.

This is going to be a meticulous process that apartment management has outlined in detail for people who used to call the complex home.

That process is in four phases, and phase one begins Monday.

“Police came by banging on doors saying, ‘Get out, get out. There’s a crane sitting on top of your apartment complex,’” Clay Muirhead recalled.

That was the beginning of the nightmare for Muirhead and the more than 500 people who used to call Elan City Lights in Deep Ellum home.

Now, most of the survivors know they will be getting their things back, but as Muirhead is questioning, do they even want it?

“It’s been sitting in 90-100 degree heat with garbage and rotting food and the heat and everything, plus the bottom floor flooded, so a lot of apartments are ruined because there’s going to be black mold and everything, so we’re really kind of wondering about what we’re getting back,” Muirhead explained.

According to a note sent to former residents, Elan City Lights management has been meeting with investigators, governmental authorities, and structural engineers over the past few weeks to determine which apartments are accessible.

Phase one of what Greystar Management is calling the “inventory process” begins Monday.

That will involve the 184 apartments not in the impact zone.

During this phase, "recovery workers" will recover belongings in those apartments.

Someone from the complex and a security officer will go in with the workers as they pack up belongings from each apartment.

They’ll use video cameras to document the process.

Every box that is packed up with belongings will receive a barcode and be stored in a storage facility with 24-hour security.

Residents can then go to the facility and pick up their things.

Phase two will involve a similar process for 116 of the 240 units that are in the impact zone.

The remaining 124 apartments that are “severely damaged” will have to be evaluated once the crane is removed to determine whether belongings can be retrieved from those apartments.

People who lived in those units might never see their things again.

Muirhead has already found a new apartment, replaced his furniture, and bought a new car.

He is concerned that his storage unit is in the impact zone, and that those items — guitars and concert tickets and souvenirs — are lost to him forever.

“Normal, just random stuff. Mementos. Stuff that doesn’t really have a price value, but for me, they mean a lot,” he added.

Workers will be packing things up 12 hours a day, seven days a week, according to Greystar.

Former residents are also running into issues with insurance, because, technically, they are getting their things back, so there is no proof of loss.