Window washer plunges to his death in St. Cloud

11:58 AM, Sep 24, 2013   |    comments
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ST. CLOUD, Minn. - A man who was cleaning windows Sunday at the Kelly Inn in downtown St. Cloud fell 70 feet to his death in what police are saying was probably an accident.

Firefighters responded to the scene at about 5:08 p.m. Sunday. Police were called about 15 minutes later and learned that the man had been cleaning windows and fell approximately 70 feet, said Assistant Police Chief Sue Stawarski.

Police were unable Monday to confirm the man's identity, but family members identified him as Lee Teske, 56. He was self-employed and had experience working as a window washer in downtown Minneapolis and in St. Cloud, according to his sister, Dawn Witschen.

He worked alone and didn't have any employees, she said.

Teske had a safety harness on that rescue workers had to remove when they were treating him, said Greg Newinski, battalion chief at the St. Cloud Fire Department. Teske apparently fell onto the breezeway that connects the Kelly Inn to the River's Edge Convention Center. He then fell from the breezeway to the ground, Newinski said.

Officials from the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration were in St. Cloud on Monday to review the details of the case, said James Honerman, communications director for the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

He said that window washing has been a point of focus for OSHA. During the time period of 2009-2011, three Minnesota workers died on the job while washing windows, he said.

That led to the creation of a program that started in March 2012 that focused on making window washing safer. Minnesota also was the first in the nation to have a window-washing safety standard, he said.

 

(Copyright 2013 by The St. Cloud Times. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )

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