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Spokane carpenters union reacts to death of construction worker at Spokane Tribe Casino

Ana Vetter was killed after a formwork collapsed, Swinerton Construction said.

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. — What was a busy construction site on Tuesday morning is now the site of an investigation into how a formwork collapse took the life of Ana Vetter.

“She was a delight to be around and she was inspiring to a lot of people," said Tony Edwards, the lead representative for the Southwest Mountain States Regional Council of Carpenters. 

Edwards says Ana was new to the Spokane area, but was already becoming involved in the Carpenters Local Union 59.

Volunteering her time, helping out paint our meeting hall, the inside of our meeting hall," he said.

Ana is also being remembered as a strong advocate for the construction industry and a mentor to her sisters in the field.

“She had testified in Olympia in favor of a house bill that would’ve expanded pre-apprenticeship programs to high schools throughout Washington state," Edwards recalled.

Swinerton, the construction company working on the new hotel at the Spokane Tribe Casino where Vetter was killed, tells KREM 2 the site will be closed through the weekend. 

"Currently, the investigation of this incident is ongoing. Understanding what occurred will take time and our goal is that everyone gets it right as opposed to closing the matter quickly. We are working closely with our subcontractor and regulatory agencies to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted," VP and Chief Human Resources Officer Brenda Reimche said by email.

It's unknown if this will lead to project delays, but Reimche says Swinerton is working closely with business partners to "minimize any impact to the project schedule."

In the meantime, Carpenters Local Union 59 is planning a vigil to honor Vetter.

“The membership has really been reaching out to us, wanting to do something, wanting to help," Edwards said. "It’s more or less an outlet just so we can all come together and honor her memory.”

That vigil will be held Thursday at 5 p.m. at the union meeting hall, 127 E. Augusta Avenue in Spokane. The public is welcome to come honor Ana and all she did to make a place for women in construction.

Edwards says they're having banners made; one will be given to Vetter's family, while one will walk with female construction workers in the upcoming St. Patrick's Day parade.

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