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Minnesota Power worker fatality under investigation

An investigation is under way into a work site accident that took the life of a longtime Minnesota Power employee on Friday.

Kyle Damberg, 47, was found unresponsive Friday at a maintenance building under construction north of the company's Taconite Harbor Energy Center in Schroeder. Damberg, who had worked for Minnesota Power for 23 years as a designer in its engineering services department, was at the maintenance building alone doing a status check, company spokeswoman Amy Rutledge said. Damberg worked on broad infrastructure construction projects throughout the company.

"He was a valuable member of our team," Rutledge said. "We are so sorry for his family's loss."

While the circumstances surrounding Damberg's death weren't being released Monday, Minnesota Power is calling it a "tragic work site accident," and is working with the Cook County Sheriff's Department and awaiting the official cause of death determination.

"From preliminary information we have, we know it was a work-related accident," Rutledge said. "We're working to find answers as well."

Family members contacted Monday declined comment.

"Kyle was a committed colleague and caring friend," said Brad Oachs, Minnesota Power's chief operating officer. "We will work with the appropriate authorities to determine what led to this unfortunate and tragic accident."

As a workplace accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will soon join the probe.

"Because this is a holiday weekend, OSHA hasn't begun its investigation," Rutledge said Monday. "Until they do, we can't comment on this further."

Alan R. Hodnik, president and CEO of Allete, Minnesota Power's parent company, said Damberg will be dearly missed.

"We offer our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to Kyle's family during this difficult time," he said in a statement.