News & Blogs
1 Person Killed, 5 Hurt When Construction Crane Collapses on Dallas Apartments During Strong Thunderstorm
Published: June 10, 2019
An investigation continues Monday into what caused a giant construction crane to collapse on an apartment building in downtown Dallas, killing one person and injuring five, during a storm that had wind gusts up to 70 mph.
The storm in Dallas was one of a number over the weekend in several states. Flooding killed three people Saturday in North Carolina, and a motorcyclist in Florida was killed after being struck by lightning on Sunday.
One person was killed and five others were hurt, Jason Evans, a spokesman for the department, said during a news conference. Two people were in critical condition, two in serious condition, and one person was already released from the hospital, Evans said.
Wind gusts up to 70 mph were reported in downtown Dallas around the time the crane fell into the five-story apartment building and garage. Evans said part of every floor of the parking garage sustained damage. Photos from the scene showed cars stacked on top of each other and others teetering on the edge of broken concrete.
All residents of the 468 apartments were accounted for. Because electricity to the building was turned off, all residents were evacuated. The apartment building management said they would be housed in hotels and provided meals, WFAA reported.
The California-based company that owns the crane, Bigge Crane and Rigging Co., released a statement Sunday that said, "We are mobilizing personnel to the site to find out more and, of course, to fully cooperate with investigating authorities."
"I can't imagine anyone surviving in that rubble," Bianca Harper-Kelly told weather.com. Harper-Kelly and her wife were dropping their daughter with a friend who lives in the apartment building. The crane fell just as they were about to turn into the parking garage.
She said she saw that a woman who lived on the fourth floor had fallen to the second floor. She saw two other people but was unable to reach any of them. One man was searching for his missing fiancee.
Isaiah Allen told the Dallas Morning News he was in his apartment when the crane collapsed. "I saw that the crane had actually fell straight through the building and had destroyed a good eight to 10 apartments and so there's like floors and stuff falling through," he said.
A gust of 71 mph was recorded at Love Field in Dallas where a hangar at a Southwest Airlines maintenance facility lost a door and part of a roof during the storms, WFAA reporter Jason Whitely reported. Workers were trying to determine if any planes had been damaged, he said.
A wall of windows was blown out at the Fretz Park Library in north Dallas where numerous trees were downed.
A billboard fell onto two cars in Uptown Dallas.
More than 268,000 customers remained without electricity as of 6:30 p.m. CDT Monday, according to poweroutage.us.
More than 500 flights into and out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport were canceled Sunday afternoon, according to flightaware.com. More than 740 were delayed. Another 66 were canceled at Love Field, where the terminal building lost power.
Flooding across much of North Carolina left three people dead, closed numerous roads and damaged buildings on the Duke University campus.
Three people were killed when their car flipped over into Rockdam Creek about 7:50 p.m. Saturday near Lincolnton, North Carolina, the Charlotte Observer reported. The three, whose names have not been released, were trapped in the car under 6 feet of water.
“The preliminary investigation indicates a vehicle was traveling west on NC 27, hydroplaned and ran off the road, collided with a tree, and overturned in Rockdam Creek,” said a release from North Carolina Highway Patrol Master Trooper Jeffrey Swagger.
The Bryan Center, the student union at Duke University, was closed for most of Saturday while crews assessed the damage caused there when floodwaters entered the building, the Duke Chronicle reported. Students told WCNC that water started rushing into the building and knocked a glass wall out of place. There was also some damage to another wall inside the Bryan Center.
Water entered several other campus buildings, according to a news release.
A Duke employee said there was flooding inside the Duke University Divinity School, as well as the chapel, WNCN reported.
“There’s actually water inside the divinity school in some places that I haven’t seen water before,” Valerie Helbert said. “So, yeah, it was pretty intense and I think just the quantity of water in the short amount of time made a huge impact.”
Catawba County, northwest of Charlotte, declared a state of emergency on Sunday morning. "The excessive rainfall has resulted in numerous water rescues, severe flooding, infrastructure damage, hazardous travel conditions and the potential for widespread power outages for residents in the county," officials said in a news release.
The cities of Hickory, Conover and Newton, all in Catawba County, also declared states of emergencies. Several water rescues were reported in Hickory on U.S. 321 near Interstate 40.
Officials in Hickory began knocking on doors at the Ridgecrest Apartments about 4 a.m. Sunday when flooding threatened the residents there, WSOC reported. The residents were taken to Catawba Valley Community College where, some said, they may have to stay for two days.
Alexander County also declared a state of emergency. Officials there said rescuers had pulled six people from flooded vehicles.
In Zebulon, North Carolina, about 18 miles east/northeast of Raleigh, at least two families had to be rescued from their homes, the Hopkins Fire Department told WRAL. The families included at least three children.
(Rolesville Fire Department/Facebook)
Mitchell Road was one of several that washed out near Zebulon.
"I've never seen this spot flood like this ever, I mean that's crazy," Kane Yeargin, a Zebulon resident for 45 years, told WNCN. "I know we got a lot of water in a quick amount of time, but I didn't know it was that substantial."
NC Highway 96 was closed in both directions in a couple of places near Zebulon. NC 98 was underwater west of U.S. 401, and 401 was closed between NC 98 and NC 96 in Franklin County.
In the Burke County community of Connelly Springs, water flowed into the first floor of College Pines Health and Rehabilitation Center, WSOC reported. Staffers were moved to another part of the building.
Several rescues were reported along the U.S. 321 corridor from Hickory to Blowing Rock, and in Alexander County, the Charlotte Observer reported.
Sharan Varner thought the road was simply wet as she drove onto a bridge over Buffalo Creek on Huffine Mill Road in Gibsonville, North Carolina. When she realized the water was several inches deep, she was unable to turn around, she told WFMY. The fast flowing creek rose over the bridge and trapped her car against a guardrail. Without a cellphone, Varner waited 30 minutes before another driver saw her waving her arm. Using a raft and ropes, first responders got Varner to safety.
"I want to warn people if they see any kind of water to be very cautious, because sometimes the road only looks wet, which is what it looked to me this morning, but as I got right up to it, it wasn't it just wet, it was a raging torrent that nearly took my life," Varner said.
In Wake Forest, a woman had to be rescued by fire crews after her car was submerged by floodwaters on Ligon Mill Road, according to a Wake Forest Fire Department Facebook post.
Strong winds, possibly from a tornado, toppled trees onto roads in Ellenboro, North Carolina, about 5 p.m. Saturday, WLOS reported.
The Florida Highway Patrol said a motorcyclist was killed on Interstate 95 in Volusia County shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday when their helmet was struck by lightning, WFTS reported. An off-duty Virginia state trooper saw the lightning hit the driver, according to the report. The helmet had burn marks and cracks, according to FHP.
The motorcyclist, whose name was not released, crashed after leaving the roadway, WFTV reported. All three lanes of southbound I-95 were closed after the crash in Ormond Beach, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported. One lane reopened about 3 p.m.
Flooding Hits Parts of Oklahoma, Too
Heavy rains brought flash flooding to Oklahoma City and other parts of central Oklahoma on Sunday morning.
Firefighters had to rescue several people Sunday morning whose cars were trapped by floodwaters along Memorial Road in Oklahoma City, The Oklahoman reported.
Oklahoma City Fire Department officials said they received 15 high water assist calls Sunday morning, KOCO reported.
The Fire Department also said it responded to a house fire it suspects of being caused by a lightning strike. No injuries were reported.
Wind gusts of up to 50 mph drove rain sideways and caused power disruptions and tree damage, KFOR reported. More than 14,000 customers were without electricity as of 10:45 a.m. CDT, according to poweroutage.us. The number had fallen to under 10,000 by 1 p.m.
Intense rainfall in Campbell County, Tennessee, flooded streets, homes and buildings Friday night, WVLT reported.
Five people were reportedly evacuated by boat on highway 63 in the LaFollette area, about 30 miles northwest of Knoxville.
Nearly all of the main roads in the city of more than 7,000 residents were closed overnight. They reopened by Saturday afternoon.
An apartment complex and a middle school in LaFollette was damaged and two churches were flooded nearly to their rooftops after at least 5 inches of rain fell, triggering the flash flooding.
The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.