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Construction halted on new Vikings stadium after worker falls off roof, dies

By Doug G. Ware

MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Construction of the Minnesota Vikings' new stadium ground to a sudden halt Wednesday after two men working on the roof fell off -- killing one and injuring the other, officials said.

The men began the day working on the roof Wednesday morning, performing what a construction company official described as fairly "conventional" labor. At about 7:45 a.m. local time, Jeramie M. Gruber, 35, fell about 50 feet off the roof and into a snow gutter, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

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The other man, who was not immediately identified, received serious injuries from the accident. His employer later reported that he was in stable condition.

It wasn't immediately clear if either man was wearing a safety harness -- a requirement for workers at certain elevations off the ground.

Both men were employees of Berwald Roofing Co., a company which the Star-Tribune reported has been repeatedly fined in the past five years for safety violations.

The majority of the violations were for workers failing to use safety harnesses or being protected from falls by guardrails, the newspaper stated.

"Today's events have caused great sadness to everyone in our company's family," Berwald said in a statement.

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Work is expected to resume on the $1.1 billion stadium Thursday.

U.S. Bank Stadium, which will be the Minnesota Vikings' new home stadium when it opens, has been under construction for two years. It is scheduled to host Super Bowl LI in 2018 and the 2019 NCAA Final Four.

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