Firms And Workers Still In Shock

June 20, 2003
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GRAND RAPIDS — The construction community still mourns the loss of one of its own: Adam Petruska, of Kent City, killed by tons of debris in last week's collapse at Welsh Auditorium last Wednesday.

Petruska would have turned 21 years old next month. He was one of 350 trades people working on the new convention center project.

"It is an unbelievable tragedy," said Steven Heacock, member of the Convention and Arena Authority.

Petruska was an employee of Erhardt Construction of Grand Rapids. Erhardt and the Hunt Group of Indianapolis are managing the $212 million project.

"They are taking it very hard," said Dale Sommers, CAA representative for the project, of Joe and Larry Erhardt.

Previously, the most serious injury sustained by an Erhardt employee was a broken leg.

The company has been in business for more than 41 years.

"This falls under the category of a tragic accident," said Sommers.

The Welsh is being demolished to make way for a new banquet hall and ballroom that will be part of DeVos Place.

The Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Administration is investigating the incident.           

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