Victim’s family seeks answers after deadly industrial accident

Courtesy photo of Michael Bloom

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kentwood man’s family is speaking out after he died in an industrial accident.

Michael Bloom fell to his death Wednesday morning at Profile Industrial Packaging’s new location in Walker.

“My entire family, we just completely admired Michael, and thought Mike was just it,” Levi Rickert, Bloom’s brother-in-law, told 24 Hour News 8 on Thursday.

Bloom’s family says he was a devoted husband and a loving father who sometimes worked 14-hour days to provide for his family.

On Wednesday, at the company where he devoted 17 years of that hard work is where he lost his life.

“Mike was up on a scaffolding tower… and he accidentally fell 20 feet to his death,” Rickert said.

It’s been a shock to Rickert and their entire family. And it’s the second tragedy to hit them in just three years.

Michael and his wife Deborah’s only child, Caitlyn, was born premature and disabled. She passed away in 2012 at the age of 22.

“That was a very painful experience for our entire family, and you could argue my sister hasn’t gotten over that yet,” said Rickert.

And now, Michael’s death. His widow was understandably too upset to talk with 24 Hour News 8.

But along with the grief, they have a lot of questions about why this happened — and if it could’ve been prevented.

“All I know is there were some gaps in the scaffolding… And they had went out to buy some plywood but they didn’t buy enough… So I’m not even sure why he was up there, quite frankly,” said Rickert.

Bloom’s family says Profile Industrial Packaging is a good company — and they don’t want to cast blame on the owners.

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) is now investigating the accident.

The family is hoping that investigation will answer their questions.

“There was no harness. There should’ve been a harness. We would like to know what safety procedures were in play and why they apparently were not being executed yesterday,” said Rickert.

24 Hour News 8 raised those questions to the public relations firm working with Profile. The company released a statement Wednesday but is not commenting further.

Bloom’s family tells 24 Hour News 8 Profile has offered to pay for funeral expenses.

24 Hour News 8 was told the renovations at the new plant in Walker have been halted by MIOSHA until next week.

We did not find any history of violations at the company’s current plant in Wyoming.

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