CBSN

Did Crane Workers Fear Winds?

There are more questions than answers as investigators in Milwaukee try to find out what caused the deadly crane collapse at Miller Park. Thursday night's Brewers-Royals game was postponed in memory of the three who died while building the new stadium.

Investigators planned to continue digging through the twisted steel in search of clues for why the 567-foot crane crashed onto the $400 million ballpark that was supposed to be completed in time for the Milwaukee Brewers' opening game next April.

Correspondent Linda Eggert of CBS affiliate WISC-TV in Milwaukee reports that the wife of one of the victims says her husband was concerned about safety conditions at the construction site.

Ramona Starr, whose husband, Jerome Starr, was killed in the accident, told the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office that he and other workers did not want to proceed with a 400-ton lift by Â"Big Blue,Â" the largest crane in North America.

Starr said she stopped by the site shortly before the accident, and her husband reported that Â"there had been an argument about the advisability of placing the roof section,Â" the medical examiner's report said. She told investigators that Â"some iron workers felt the weather, i.e. wind, was too strong.Â"

Brent Emons, business manager for the Iron Workers Local 8, said other workers questioned the safety of the crane lift because of the wind, which the National Weather Service said was gusting at 26 mph when the accident happened just after 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Â"We're not engineers. We're iron workers. But we have a gut feeling of when we should and when we shouldn't, and most of our guys felt we shouldn't,Â" Emons said.

He said the construction workers had been laid off for an indefinite amount of time.

The stadium district was not aware of any complaints to the union about the weather conditions, said Brenna Kriviskey, a spokeswoman for the stadium board overseeing the project.

Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules requiring the site to be cleared before the lift Â"prevented an even greater tragedy,Â" said John Goldstein, president of the Milwaukee County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, in a statement.

Officials are looking at the wind and mechanical malfunction among possible causes of the crane collapse, Sheriff Lev Baldwin said.

Fire Chief Larry Gardner said at least one of two Â"black boxesÂ" in the cab of the crane, which record wind speeds and lift amounts, were not working due to mechanical problems.

A routine OSHA safety inspection at Miller Park was in progress at the time of the accident, giving investigators the benefit of live photographs and video of the accident, said Jim Dollins, OSHA's assistant area director for Milwaukee.

Brewers Vice President Laurel Prieb said the stadium will be finished, but it was too early to speculate on a timetable. The 43,000-seat, grass-field ballpark had been sceduled to open next April.

Â"We have no idea as to whether there will be a delay or not,Â" Prieb said in an interview. Â"We could just as likely be opening on time as not opening on time. It's simply too early to tell.Â"