Suncoast roofing community reacting to death of 19-year-old roofer in Lakewood Ranch

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Florida (WWSB) — The lightning strike by 19-year-old roofer Jesus Olvera-Aguilar on Tuesday at Lakewood Ranch has caused people in the roofing industry to react. Experts say it is a very dangerous undertaking and that such a thing happens far too often.

“Roofers, unfortunately, because of the height at which they work and all the dangers that come with it, there are quite a few deaths associated with roofing,” said Brad Mang, a Loss Control Consultant with the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association.

Industry officials say roofers account for at least 15% of all lightning deaths in Florida each year. This death has emotionally overwhelmed a neighbor.

“I wish I could have done something,” said Neia Conceicao. “I wish I could have become a nurse or a doctor. I wish I could go there and really help save his life.”

Joshua Brown of Sunniland Corporation in Manatee County says that while this passing is very sad, it can be used as a valuable lesson.

“You just feel for the family, the company, everything they’re going through,” Brown said. “But then you go straight to a security meeting with your boys. When you see rain, you see clouds, you hear something, rolling thunder, you have to get off the roof.”

Experts say that besides the weather, the most common roofer deaths or injuries are from falls. Because of the risks, industry leaders are constantly training and teaching employees about safety.

“It’s critical that employers look at the weather, talk to their employees on a daily basis about what’s going to happen with the weather throughout the day, and adapt,” says Mang.

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

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