Roofer dies after fall from Tarpon Springs church

Other roofers continue job with "heavy hearts"
Posted at 1:59 PM, Feb 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-02 17:39:22-05

A Pinellas County roofer is dead after a tragic accident while he was on the job.

It happened Thursday morning at the First Baptist Church in Tarpon Springs.

Police said Garrett Marshall, 29, of Crystal Beach was trying to get off the roof and onto a ladder when he somehow fell about 20 feet to the ground.

The church is located next door to a fire station. But emergency workers couldn’t revive Marshall.

The owner of Lester F. Paulk and Sons roofing came to the church and said he was devastated over the loss.

“I don’t think people realize how difficult and dangerous it is. I don’t take anything for granted,” said Carl Paulk.

Paulk says his father started this business in 1945. And despite the danger, he’s never seen any of his workers die before.

“This is not something where I just send men out and casually think everything is going to be alright. I worry every day. I worry. Sure I do. And this is one reason why you worry,” he said.

Witnesses said Marshall was wearing his harness at the time, but had detached himself to go use the bathroom.

No one actually saw him fall.

“The only thing I can say to the family is I am sorry. I have already spoken with the mother, the father, and the brother. I gave them my condolences and told them I would stand with them,” said Paulk.

Paulk said Marshall worked for him for about 7 years.

Roofers continued working on the church even after Marshall’s death.

Paulk said they had to in order to secure the building in case of bad weather.

“With heavy hearts they are up there,” said Paulk.