2 men killed in west Michigan trench collapse ID'd as brothers

The Detroit News

Lowell — Two men who died last week after a trench collapsed in western Michigan have been identified as brothers.

The Bowne Township Fire Department identified the deceased men as Pete Bencker, 59, and Ron Bencker, 68, both from Alto.

Fire Chief Rick Vriesenga said Pete Bencker served 29 years on the Bowne Township Fire Department before retiring last year.

He and his brother were working on a 14-foot (4.27-meter-deep) deep trench that was being dug for drainage where a pole barn was being built when it collapsed Friday in Lowell Township, just east of Grand Rapids.

Vriesenga said in a text to MLive.com that the deaths have been difficult for his department.

“We are still processing the situation,” he wrote. “(Pete) and his family were very well known to all of us. Some members of our department are related to him.”