A 41-year-old roofer from Haverhill, Mass. fell through a roof hole nine stories to his death on Dec. 18 while working on an apartment building project in Haverhill, a city north of Boston.
“The incident was reported around 10:15 a.m. when Mr. Ortiz’s body was discovered,” said Carrie Kimball Monahan, spokeswoman for the Essex County District Attorney’s office, “It appears no one saw him fall.”
The roofer, identified as Carlos Ortiz, a long-time employee of Progressive Roofing Co., appears to have fallen through an elevator shaft and was pronounced dead at the scene, but it is not clear exactly when he fell, said Carrie Kimball Monahan. Essex County and the Massachusetts State Police are investigating the incident. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting two concurrent investigations, one of Progressive Roofing and the other of NEI General Contracting.
A report from Massachusetts State Police Trooper Michael Carrigan, who was assigned to the case, said what appeared to be an elevator shaft was partially covered by plywood and partially by plastic. The report adds that other workers were on the roof and on the ground and NS Concrete was also on the site, Kimball Monahan said.
“An autopsy conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner should close the case unless something suggests foul play for what appears to be a tragic accident,” the district attorney spokeswoman said.
NEI General Contracting is the general contractor for the mixed-income housing construction project at 98 Essex St. in Haverhill. The project, which started in April 2018 and is scheduled for completion in 2019, involves transforming a historic shoe manufacturing building into 62 apartments.
Ted Fitzgerald, a spokesman for OSHA, said the administration opened an inspection of the accident on Dec. 18 to determine if there were any violations of workplace safety standards. It has also initiated an investigation of NEI General Contracting. The administration has up to six months to complete the investigations, but Fitzgerald could not give an estimate on how long they would take.
An NEI spokeswoman said she was unable to comment on the incident during the ongoing investigation. “Further details will be made available once we have more information about what happened.”
A spokeswoman for Progressive Roofing Inc. said the company was not taking calls at this time due to respect for the family.
Through MassHousing’s $100 million Workforce Housing Initiative, 98 Essex St. is advancing the Baker-Politico Administration’s goal of creating up to 1,000 new housing units for middle-income households.