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Apartment Tenants Forced To Move After Deadly Dallas Crane Collapse

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM)North Texans who called the Elan City Lights Apartments their home are being forced out after Sunday's deadly crane collapse.

Today employees at the complex are doing all they can to help ease the burden of the dozens of residents who have been forced to move unexpectedly.

By the lunch hour the stream of people at the Latino Cultural Center in Dallas had slowed, but the eagerness to get answers had not.

Elan City Lights has set up shop inside the cultural center for tenants to pick up promised refunds. There are also apartment finders on-hand to help them find a new place to live.

In a letter sent Monday night tenants learned that property management determined "the building has become totally unusable for residential purposes" and no one will be allowed to remain in their apartments.

One resident told CBS 11 News, "I mean it's tragic and nobody can really prepare for it, but they [property management] are doing everything they can."

Tenant Ryan Brockway returned to the Latino Cultural Center Tuesday hoping for answers. "To try and see what the plan was, see if we can get our stuff anytime soon. I know that that's really depressing… my wife to not be able to have anything from home."

 "It felt like an actual race,"Rebecca Sawatzki said. "I was honestly looking over my shoulder at the line behind me and if I didn't sign, I knew the person behind me would."

Sawatzki describes the sense of urgency to sign a new lease at a nearby apartment after receiving a letter from Elan City Lights management saying the complex is unlivable.  

Management is now refunding all leaseholders' deposits and June rent, also giving them $500 to put toward a new apartment. 

 If they sign a new lease with their management company, they'll waive move-in fees. 

They'll also offering residents a $100 a day per diem through Friday for any expenses.  

"Whatever you pay you just give them the receipts and we will back you back," Padr Aljuneidi said. "They were very helpful." 

"I feel they've been offering fair accommodations," Sawatzki said. 

The deadly crane collapse on Sunday killed Kiersten Symone Smith. As the community mourns the 29-year-old's death her sister, Toni Smith, took to social media to remember her through written word.

On Facebook Toni Smith said -

"My younger sister, Kiersten went to be with the Lord on June 9th, 2019.???? The cause was an unexpected accident that my family and I prefer not to discuss at this time. What gives me peace is that I know she was HAPPY. She was in love with a great guy, soon to start a new job, and had so many other wonderful things to look forward to. She was taken from this earth WAY TOO SOON. She was my best friend and this hurts so much right now. My baby sister...I will miss you terribly. Your big beautiful smile, your random singing and dancing, your advice, and your unbelievably big heart. I love you SO MUCH. Later KiKi..."

Kiersten Smith was a human resources operations specialist will Tenet Healthcare. Her funeral arrangements are pending.

Property managers for Elan City Lights have said residents can pick up their refunds as early as 3:00 p.m. and that allowances/per diem monies will be extended through Friday.

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