Watch CBS News

Construction Worker Dead After Fall From Vikings Stadium

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- All construction work on the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis has been stopped after a construction worker fell 50 feet from the roof and died Wednesday morning.

At around 7:45 a.m., construction worker Jeramie Gruber fell while performing roofing work on the north side of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.

Jeramie Gruber
(credit: Gruber family)

Another worker was also injured, but it's unclear how. Minneapolis Fire Department crews needed to extract him from a crevice by using a rescue basket. At 8:30 a.m., that victim was then stabilized on the roof and brought down shortly after. He was then taken to the hospital.

He is listed in stable condition.

A visibly shaken Mortenson Construction executive had few answers about what went wrong, but promised a thorough investigation.

"A man lost his life on this project today, and that simply should never happen," John Wood, senior vice president of Mortenson, said in a press conference late Wednesday morning. "Our priority is to know exactly what happened and ensure that it never happens again."

It was just 45 minutes into their shift when something happened on the north side of the roof to cause Gruber to fall and to cause injuries to the other.

Both were employed by a subcontractor, Berwald Roofing of North St. Paul.

It's a company known for big projects, like Target Field and TCF Bank Stadium along with several office buildings, hospitals and malls.

About 25 Berwald employees have been working on the Vikings stadium.

"When something like this happens, it hits people very hard," Wood said.

There's a six-foot rule in construction. If workers are six or more feet above a lower level, they need to be protected from falls.

Records show that Berwald has been cited nine times by OSHA since 2010, mostly for lack of fall protection.

Construction on the stadium site was suspended for the day, shortly after the incident happened.

Work may resume tomorrow, with counselors on site.

"We can't say enough to express how saddened everybody is who is working on this project," Wood said.

John Wood - Mortenson Construction
John Wood of Mortenson Construction addresses the media Wednesday morning (credit: CBS)

Shortly after 10:30 a.m., Mortenson Construction confirmed that one of the workers died from his injuries and the second worker is in serious condition.

At a press conference late Wednesday morning, Senior Vice President John Wood of Mortenson Construction said that Gruber fell about 50 feet and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

"One worker fell from the roof, from the edge of the roof, into what we know as the snow gutter, which is below the main roof on the north side of the building," Wood said. "We understand that he fell approximately 50 feet, but that, too, needs to be verified."

Wood also said that the second worker did not fall, but wouldn't give details on how the victim was injured.

Mortenson is now conducting a very thorough investigation into what led to the incident, Wood said.

The Minnesota Vikings released a statement about the incident late Wednesday morning:

"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 Wednesday:

"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 U.S. Bank Stadium construction webcam is down at this time.

One of Gruber's family members told WCCO that he would have celebrated his second wedding anniversary in October.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.