2014-02-13 / Front Page

Mahopac man falls to his death while cleaning snow from roof

Second fatality reported this month; police urge caution
By Eric Gross

A 48-year-old Mahopac man was pronounced dead at Putnam Hospital Center Sunday evening after falling from the roof of his home while attempting to remove snow.

Austin Bailey and John Pulver remove an estimated two tons of snow from a roof in Carmel on President’s Day. Photo/Eric GrossAustin Bailey and John Pulver remove an estimated two tons of snow from a roof in Carmel on President’s Day. Photo/Eric GrossCarmel Police and members of the Mahopac Falls Fire Department were summoned to Woodland Drive in the Lake Secor section of town around 7 o’clock for a report of a man on the ground in his driveway not breathing. Police found James Ormsby face down with a ladder leaning onto the roof of his home. Ormsby was given CPR and was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The tragedy is the second snow-related mishap in Putnam County in recent days. Last week, Peter Creegan, 52, of Mahopac Falls was taken off life support at the Westchester Medical Center after suffering massive head trauma 96 hours earlier when he fell from his roof while removing snow and repairing a leak.

Creegan, who ran unsuccessfully for the Carmel Town Board in 2011, served as vice president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Putnam and Westchester and was involved in the workforce of the Tappan Zee Bridge construction project.

Creegan was laid to rest last Saturday following a funeral service in Shrub Oak. He is survived by his wife, Claudine and a daughter, Lauren.

Police Monday encouraged homeowners in need of having snow removed from roofs to “hire a professional.”

Two of these “professionals” are John Pulver of Brewster and Austin Bailey of Stormville, employees of the HPM Corporation in Patterson.

The two men have been busy in recent days removing mountains of snow from roofs throughout the region.

At a Carmel residence Monday, Pulver and Bailey used special shovels to clean a flat roof atop a large porch. Pulver said the special equipment allows the workmen to remove the snow while not damaging the surface of the roof.

When queried about the two fatalities, Pulver called it “most unfortunate. Most homeowners don’t have the knowledge or expertise to climb atop a roof—let alone a roof piled high with snow and ice. To attempt to clean a roof at night is doubly dangerous. I wouldn’t do it!”


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‘No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.’ ~Hal Borland