On Sunday a severe storm swept through Dallas, TX with winds reaching upwards of 70 mph. At about 2 pm local time, those conditions led to a crane tumbling down onto an apartment building and parking garage located in downtown Dallas.
First responders assisted the residents of the nearly 475 unit complex as quickly as they could, evacuating the entire structure. The collapse left five people injured and killed at least one.
UFC bantamweight and The Ultimate Fighter: Heavy Hitters winner Macy Chiasson, who lives on the first floor of the Elan City Lights complex that was partially destroyed, was forced to evacuate her apartment with nothing but her dog “T”.
Thankfully, Chiasson was able to escape the collapse without suffering any major injuries.
“I’m feeling a little shaken up and I’m definitely still in shock. I’m fortunate to be alive,” Chiasson said. “If you look at where the crane stopped, my apartment is the first apartment underneath it in the “red zone.”
Due to the massive amount of debris and damage, Chiasson was unable to return to her apartment to recover any of her belongings. That includes her birth certificate, drivers license, clothes, training gear, UFC memorabilia and her TUF trophy.
“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.”
After exiting the complex Chiasson had to walk across tons of debris and glass that had fallen from the apartments and parking garage. Once outside, Chiasson was able to fully understand the scale of destruction to the structure of her building.
“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 relied on her ability to adapt and make decisions on the fly to escape her apartment. She believes that her time in mixed martial arts, combined with life experience, helped her make the correct decisions on the way to safety.
“Honestly it is really similar to what you do in the cage,” Chiasson said. “You can’t really think about what you’re doing in the moment. You have to react, protect yourself and understand how to deal with uncomfortable situations.”
In the hours following the tragedy Chiasson was quick to thank first responders and other emergency crews for “risking their lives to get people out.”
“It’s their job but their life can be taken at any moment,” Chiasson said. “People overlook just how much they actually care and how genuine they truly are.”
Dallas Fire-Rescue and the Dallas Police Department are still working to assist those affected by the tragedy.
Chiasson’s parents are helping her move to her home state of Louisiana for the time being. The UFC has also reached out to provide Chiasson with clothing, equipment and other items that may help her while she figures out what is next.
“I would like to send my thoughts and prayers to the handful of people and their families who were affected by this tragedy,” Chiasson said. “I would also like to thank the people close to me for their support, including my coach Sayif Saud who came and got me after it happened. Also the UFC, and specifically Mick Maynard, for caring about me and having my back.”
Gavin Porter is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com, follow him on Twitter at @PorterUFCNews