DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It has been a year since a crane collapsed on a Dallas apartment building during a violent storm, killing a resident.
Kiersten Smith, 29, died and five others were injured inside Elan City Lights Apartments.READ MORE: Texas Experiencing Another COVID-19 Surge
Hundreds of residents went from calling the complex home to being homeless in an instant.
“It feels like yesterday, and it also feels like it was five years ago,” said former resident Sunny Philippi. “Everyone was screaming and crying, and it was just terrifying, and we’re the lucky ones.”
But the road for the survivors has been far from smooth.
“It was no easy task, and really it should have been,” said former resident Jonathan Ross. “This terrible thing had happened. Clearly there was fault to be had somewhere.”
In addition to losing nearly all their belongings and scrambling to find housing, former residents say they waited for months before they could retrieve their belongings.READ MORE: Administrative Court Judge Orders Mask-Wearing To Enter Dallas County Courthouses
“It was a very disruptive part of my life, four months of being in limbo and not knowing what was going to happen and being very financially unsound,” said Philippi.
Many residents filed a lawsuit against the apartment owners and the crane operator.
A jury trial is tentatively set for next March.
“I don’t understand how there still hasn’t been any penalty. It’s very enraging,” said Philippi.
“I just hope they’ve learned something from this disaster and to really treat their residents with respect and dignity,” said Ross.MORE NEWS: Summer Break Ends Early For Some Dallas ISD Schools
A spokesperson for the apartment complex sent the following statement to CBS 11: “Our sympathies remain with those impacted by the crane collapse. We have worked diligently over the past year to recover resident belongings and vehicles, so that they could be reclaimed by their owners. The plans for Elan City Lights are still in process. We do not have a projected date for when we will be able to reopen the community.”