Police: Shifting Granite Caused 'Cascade' That Killed Macomb County Men

The victims' names were released on Wednesday.

WWJ News
September 10, 2019 - 6:10 pm

Photo: Jon Hewett / WWJ

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STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WWJ) -- The two men killed by slabs of granite at the Stone Warehouse of Michigan on Monday have been identified.

Officials say 30-year-old Benjamin Allen Welch of Warren and 53-year-old James Jones of Shelby Township were the men that were crushed Monday when slabs of granite fell on top of them.

Sterling Heights Fire Chief Chris Martin says the two men were using a crane to move large slabs of granite, weighing upwards of 1,000 lbs., Monday afternoon, when something caused the granite to shift. Martin told WWJ Monday night when one slab shifted, it caused a cascade effect, with roughly 30 sheets of granite falling on top of them.

Martin says counseling has been made available for firefighters, as well as employees of neighboring granite shops who assisted at the scene with their equipment Monday evening to help recover the bodies.

"When we got here, workers were very broke up and we’re using these guys from across the street and down the street and this isn’t something they’re used to doing, while they’re used to moving granite every day, they’re not used to working around things that they’re going to be seeing," Martin said Monday night. "We’re going to make sure we can get help to the other workers here, the families that need it, the responders that took care of it and the guys that stepped up and helped us."

Sterling Heights fire crews were called to the scene on 19 Mile Road between Van Dyke and Merrill around 2:30 p.m. Monday. When the initially arrived at the scene, first responders were under the impression that one employee had been crushed. Not long after their arrival, employees at the warehouse discovered a second worker was missing.

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