Jorge Arturo Barralaga, of Mays Landing, was a 30-year-old Honduran immigrant who started his own construction business a year ago.
But before he could start hiring employees for his booming business he died tragically after falling 20 feet from the roof of a home in Ocean City Wednesday.
Barralaga, owner of Barralagas Roofing & Siding in Mays Landing, was working on the roof of a residential building on East Seaspray Road in the northern part of Ocean City, when the accident occurred, police said.
Police said he was unconscious and not breathing when they arrived at the scene at 11 a.m. He was taken to Shore Medical Center in Somers Point. He was pronounced dead at the hospital and an autopsy was done Thursday.
His wife, Jamie, said Thursday her husband began the business a year ago after emigrating from Honduras about 10 years ago. The couple married nine years ago and have three children, she said.
“It’s not easy,” she said from her Mays Landing home Thursday. “He was a great dad and a great husband.”
Jamie said her husband’s business had been busy with all the damaged properties in the area from Hurricane Sandy.
“We were going to start hiring,” she said. “We didn’t get the chance.”
Alex Herrera knew Barralaga from Honduras and would work with him on some jobs. He said his friend went up on the roof to do some last measurements before completing the project.
Herrera went to get some supplies and said he did not see Barralaga fall.
“He was always happy. He talked every day about his kids,” Herrera said. “He loved his life. He was a great person. There’s no other way to say it.”
Investigators with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration were still gathering information about the incident Thursday. OSHA spokeswoman Joanna Hawkins said subcontractor Barralagas Roofing & Siding is under investigation.
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