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Carlton real estate developer dies in construction accident

Dave Chmielewski, 48, was killed when an excavation trench collapsed.

100721.N.PJ.Chmielewski Accident
Local real estate developer Dave Chmielewski stands outside the 14th Street Apartments his company, Blackhoof Development, built near Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet. Chmielewski was killed in a construction accident Sept. 28 in Lindstrom, Minn. Jana Peterson / 2017 File / Pine Journal
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A Carlton man died Tuesday, Sept. 28, on an apartment building construction site in Lindstrom, Minn.

Dave Chmielewski, 48, died after an excavation trench partially collapsed, according to a news release from the Lakes Area Police Department in Lindstrom.

The department responded to the call along with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office, Lindstrom Fire Department and Lakes Region EMS.

Construction workers were trying to extricate Chmielewski from the trench when emergency responders arrived, the news release said. They were ultimately able to remove him from the trench, and Chmielewski was transported by ambulance to a landing site to be airlifted.

Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful, and Chmielewski was pronounced dead prior to air transport, according to the news release.


Chmielewski owned Blackhoof Development in Carlton, the company that built the 14th Street Apartments near Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, among other projects in the area.

His wife, Jennifer Chmielewski, served on the Carlton School Board until December 2020.

The couple has two children.

Lakes Area Police Chief Bill Schlumbohm told the Pine Journal his department’s investigation report is not complete and the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the cause of the accident.

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