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Worker killed at Saints new-ballpark construction site

St. Paul SaintsA male worker was killed this morning at the construction site of a new St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) ballpark when a concrete section of the Gillette building collapsed.

The accident happened around 8 a.m., and Johnny Valek, 61, of Plymouth was operating a crane, clearing debris from the site. From the Pioneer Press;

Residents at the Northern Warehouse Artist Cooperative, to the southeast of the construction site, said the work appeared dangerous — heavy equipment was often visible close to ledges and overhangs.

“I’ve been sitting here day after day, and it looks unsafe,” said resident Michael Daly. “The big construction equipment is on the edge of the building while (they are) tearing it down.”

It is important to note that the crane did not collapse or fall off the side of a building; the building collapsed on the crane.

The incident is under investigation, with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) set to be involved. As of 10:30 a.m., the victim’s body had not been removed from the scene of the accident.

The Saints front office issued the following:

“There is profound sadness in the St. Paul Saints organization today after learning about the passing of a worker at the Lowertown site. At this time we want to send out our deepest sympathies to the family who lost a loved one in this tragic accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and our entire community on this heartbreaking day.”

The former manufacturing plant in St. Paul’s Lowertown area is set to be the site of a new 7.000-seat ballpark, opening in 2015.

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