BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. — A White Lake, N.C. roofing contractor and firefighter fell to her death while working on a roof Tuesday morning.
According to WECT, the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office reports that Mildred Gray Williams, 37, was working for Young’s Construction on top of the Bladen County Water Rescue Building. While working to replace the metal roofing, Williams fell 15 feet.
Emergency workers were called to the building around 10 a.m., but medical examiners pronounced Williams dead at the scene.
“This is just a shock to the Emergency Services Community,” Nathan Dowless, emergency services director of Bladen County, said in a statement. “Gray was a firefighter and one of us. It’s tough when it’s one of our own, but we will work through this together.”
According to a Facebook post from the Bladen County Water Rescue Station 75, Williams (referred to in the post as Gray Thompson Williams Ramsey) was not taken in the line of duty when the tragic event occurred, but “working on her daily job as most volunteers do.” The post called Williams a “dedicated member” of both the White Lake Fire Department and Bladen County Water Rescue.
Out of respect for Williams, two ladder trucks formed an arch with the U.S. flag hanging down for a processional of first responders to pass through on their way to the hospital.
Falls remain the top hazard for roofing contractors, being responsible for nearly 40 percent (381) of all deaths in the construction industry as of 2017. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently listed fall protection as the most frequently cited violation for 2019.
The incident has been reported to the N.C. Department of Labor for investigation, as is protocol after a work-related death.