A construction crane collapsed amid fierce thunderstorms in Dallas, Texas on Sunday, falling onto a nearby apartment building and parking garage, killing 29-year-old Kiersten Symone Smith, and displacing dozens of residents. One of the people affected by that disaster was UFC women’s bantamweight fighter Macy Chiasson, who lived on the first floor of the destroyed Elan City Lights apartment building.
Chiasson described her harrowing experience to UFC.com on Tuesday, including the frightening detail that her unit was “the first apartment” under the destruction caused by the crane. Chiasson had just enough time to grab her dog and get the hell out of there, leaving all the rest of her possessions behind:
“I’ve lost everything. Once I heard all the crashing and felt the shaking I looked at my dog and got out of there as fast as possible. I didn’t even have any shoes on,” Chiasson said. “It reminds you how valuable life is. You’re not replaceable, but material items are.”
“People were panicking. Apartments were completely gone,” Chiasson said. “The pool, the garage, everything was destroyed. This is by far one of the craziest moments of my life.”
Chiasson and the other displaced tenants will reportedly need to be permanently relocated, with management describing the building as “totally unusable for residential purposes.” According to a former federal crane accident investigator (a fairly surprising job title) interviewed by CNN, construction cranes are built to withstand 140-mph winds, and it remains something of a mystery how this particular crane was blown over backwards in 80-mph gusts Sunday afternoon.
UPDATE: Per ESPN, Chiasson is suing both the crane company and the apartment complex owners:
On Tuesday, Chiasson sued Bigge Crane and Rigging and the apartment owner, Elan Dallas City Lights (plus affiliated companies GREP and Gabriella Nationwide), in Dallas County district court for gross negligence, among other claims, ESPN confirmed via court documents. Chiasson is seeking exemplary damages in an amount that “is not less than three times the amount of the Plaintiff’s actual damages.”
“These people need to be held accountable,” Chiasson’s lawyer, Jason Friedman, told ESPN of the defendants. “These people were careless, and they’re building the whole community. They should care about the community instead of just the bottom line.”