Workers crushed in Sterling Heights warehouse killed instantly by "cascade" of granite slabs

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The two men crushed to death when slabs of granite fell on them have been identified as a 30-year-old man from Warren and a 53-year-old man from Shelby Township, who had been on the job for six months and four years, respectively.

In a preliminary report released Tuesday afternoon detailing the incident, the two men were crushed after slabs of granite shifted while they were being moved.

The employees were reportedly using an overhead crane to move several slabs of granite. When those slabs were lifted off their storage rack, several other slabs of granite shifted in that process. The subsequent movement caused "a cascade of several more slabs of granite shifting."

The location of the incident wasn't in a backroom however. 

"This is a public access area," said Sterling Heights Fire Department Chief Chris. "Earlier in the day there was (someone) looking for granite. We did a search process to make sure no one was there." 

First responders believe the two employees were immediately killed after being pinned by the granite. Each slab weighs an estimated 1,000 pounds.

In what Martin called a "workplace tragedy," the initial call after the accident was made at 2:33 p.m. Monday afternoon. However, that operation soon morphed into a "body recovery" by first responders.

The fire department called upon neighboring businesses with employees who had equipment to move the granite slabs, as well as the experience to do it safely. They included employees from Tile & Stone Works, Luxury Granite and Design and Rock Solid Granite.

"We've got some help from some neighboring granite companies to come help with their equipment and moving some slabs out," Martin said on Monday. We have some members of the Macomb County Technical Rescue Team that will be here to help us shore and lift things to make sure nobody else gets hurt today."

RELATED STORY: Workplace tragedy: 2 crushed to death by granite slabs at Sterling Heights warehouse

After the accident, the body of the first victim was recovered just after 6 p.m., more than three hours after the incident. The second victim wasn't recovered until after 9 p.m.. Representatives from MIOSHA and the Macomb County Medical Examiner's Office were on scene at the business. 

Known as the Stone Warehouse, it's located at 7235 19 Mile Rd.

While the company has never been under investigation in the past, fire officals did respond to it after reports of an open wire that electrocuted someone.

Grief counseling has been made available to family, co-workers and those who responded to the rescue effort.