Suncoast roofing community mourn the death of 19-year-old roofer in Lakewood Ranch; acknowledge hazards

Suncoast roofers reacting to lightning death of 19-year-old.
Suncoast roofers reacting to lightning death of 19-year-old.(WWSB)
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 10:11 PM EDT
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LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (WWSB) - The death of 19-year-old roofer Jesus Olvera-Aguilar as he was struck by lightning on Tuesday in Lakewood Ranch, has people in the roofing industry acknowledging the hazards of the job. Experts say it is a very dangerous business and something like this is far too common.

“Roofers, because of the elevations that they work at and all the hazards associated it with it, unfortunately, there are quite a few deaths related to roofing,” said Brad Mang, a loss control consultant with the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association.

Industry officials say roofers make up at least 15% of all lightning deaths in Florida every year. This death has left one neighbor emotionally overwhelmed.

“I wish I could’ve done something,” said Neia Conceicao. “I wish I could’ve been a nurse or a doctor, I wish I could’ve gone there to really help to save his life.”

Joshua Brown with Sunniland Corporation in Manatee County says although this death is very sad, it can be used as a valuable teaching lesson.

“You just feel for the family, the company, everything they’re going through,” said Brown. “But then you go right into having a safety meeting with your guys. If you see any rain, you see any clouds you hear anything, rolling thunder, you got to get off the roof.”

Experts say in addition to the weather, most roofer deaths and injuries come from falls. Because of the risks, industry leaders are constantly training workers and teaching them all about safety.

“It’s critical that the employers are watching the weather, talking to their employees on a daily basis about what’s going to happen throughout the day with the weather and adjusting,” said Mang.

A GoFundMe page for the family of Jesus Olvera-Aguilar is expected to be up and running on Thursday.

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