1 worker dies, 1 injured following incident at new Vikings stadium


A worker was killed and another was seriously injured after an incident at U.S. Bank Stadium Wednesday morning, prompting the construction site to be shut down for the day.

According to FOX 9, the family has identified the worker who was killed as Jeramie Gruber, 35, of Northfield. Gruber's Facebook page says he was a 1998 graduate of Faribault Senior High School.

The two men who were employees of St. Paul-based Berwald Roofing, were performing construction work on the north side of the building around 7:45 a.m. when one of them fell, Mortensen Construction, the lead contractor on the project, said in a statement to BringMeTheNews.

Officials are still investigating what happened, John Wood, senior vice president of Mortensen Construction, said at a news conference Wednesday. He did say one worker fell about 50 feet from the edge of the roof into a snow gutter below the main roof.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, Wood noted.

The other worker, who is in serious condition, did not fall from the roof but was injured on the site, Wood added.

The Minneapolis Fire Department responded to the construction site around 8 a.m. to rescue the worker who was trapped in the crevice on the roof, the fire department 

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Fire crews used a rescue basket, ropes and cables to secure firefighters in order to rescue the man. He was then transported to the hospital, officials

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Work on the stadium stopped after the incident and all the employees on site were sent home. Crews are expected to return to work Thursday.

"We're not thinking about the construction right now," Wood said at the news conference. "We're thinking about these two men and their families."

Counselors will be made available to the 1,200 workers who were on the job site Wednesday, Wood said at the news conference.

The $1.1 billion stadium is expected to be completed for the 2016 football season.

The Vikings released a statement regarding the incident:

"Today is an extremely sad day for the Minnesota Vikings organization and the entire stadium team. Our sincere thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the individual who passed away, the worker who remains hospitalized, and the more than 1,000 dedicated construction workers who are on the site every day and are also affected by this accident."

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges also released a statement:

“Today we in Minneapolis grieve for the loss of the worker who lost his life in a tragic accident. I know that, like me, the people of Minneapolis send their sympathies, prayers, and thoughts to his family and friends in this terrible time. I hope they have what they need to grieve well. We also send our wishes for a thorough and speedy recovery to the other worker who was injured today; our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family as well.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be investigating Wednesday's incident, reports note.

There were 67 workplace fatalities in Minnesota in 2013, 11 of which involved the construction industry – falls, trips and slips accounted for five on-the-job fatalities in construction that year, OSHA notes.

Of all work-related fatalities nationwide in 2013, falls, trips and slips accounted for 16 percent, OSHA data show.

The incident at U.S. Bank Stadium was the second fatality at a local stadium project in the past two years, Finance & Commerce reports. In September 2013, a person was killed while working on the demolition project to make room for the new St. Paul Saints stadium.

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