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Man identified in cell tower death

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news Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

SOLWAY - A 19-year-old Lisbon, N.D., man was identified Wednesday as the victim of a fatal fall from a cell phone tower here.

Jeremy Jo Froemke was working on a cell phone tower when he fell 153 feet and was killed on impact Tuesday, the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office said.

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Froemke was an employee of the Fargo-based Midwest Steeplejacks. He was working on a tower at 134 Loman Ave. in Lammers Township, south of Solway Elementary School, when he fell.

An emergency call came in to Sheriff's dispatchers at 5:50 p.m. Tuesday reporting the accident.

Rory Kiland, owner of Midwest Steeplejacks, said the company could not comment at this time other than to offer condolences to Froemke's family.

The Sheriff's Office said Froemke was wearing a harness.

The Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into the accident, said Jenny O'Brien, of the Department of Labor and Industry, a division of MNOSHA.

While cell tower workers are regulated under MNOSHA, O'Brien said the regulations depend on what type of work is being done.

"I don't know what he was doing," O'Brien said. "But we don't see this type of accident very often in Minnesota."

O'Brien said while there are some towers in Minnesota, it's not a booming industry.

"It's not a very large industry for the state," O'Brien said. "However, even though we don't see very many of these accidents, just one is too many."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 50 tower climbers have died on the job at cell sites across the country since 2003.

Midwest Steeplejacks has no previous OSHA violations.

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