Sunday marks 20th anniversary of tragic collapse of Big Blue crane at Miller Park construction site

MILWAUKEE -- Sunday, July 14 will mark the 20th anniversary of the tragic collapse of a crane known as Big Blue at the Miller Park construction site.

Three workers, Jeffrey Wischer, William DeGrave and Jerome Starr, died in this accident in July 1999. They were in a man basket suspended 300 feet in the air that was hit by the collapsing crane.

The crane operator at the time was trying to lift a section of the retractable roof into place when strong winds knocked it down onto the facade of the ballpark under construction.

On Friday, July 12, State Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement:

"It is important to remember this event. It helps us to understand the sacrifices that workers make, which often go unnoticed. Although everything around us requires engineering and construction, it is all too easy to forget about the workers who dedicate their lives to the creation of our communities and the monuments that give us such an enormous sense of pride in the place that we call home.

"As members of Iron Workers Local 8, Jeffrey Wischer, William DeGrave, and Jerome Starr were part of a team that has served the people of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan since 1901, helping to construct some of the greatest buildings in this area. The loss of their lives was an unexpected tragedy, and it must inspire our society to appreciate the hard work and sacrifice of the people around us.

"As you are out and about this weekend, I hope that you will take a moment to reflect on this tragedy and the loss of life that sadly took place during the construction of our iconic Miller Park. If you are at the stadium, please visit their memorial, located north of Miller Park by the main ticket office, and pay your respects to these men who deserved to go home to their families and live on to create more amazing structures for all of us."