Contractor Weighs in on Death of 15-Year-Old Guatemalan Boy

08 Jul, 2019 Liz Carey


Cullman, AL ( – As a follow-up to last week’s story of a 15-year-old who died after falling through the roof of an Alabama construction site, an attorney for the contractor says at least part of the blame lies with Alabama law.

In the story, the unidentified boy was on his first day on a construction job for W&W Restoration, said to be a subcontractor for Apex Roofing, when he fell nearly 40 feet to his death. Reports indicated workers were not using safety harnesses attached to the roof.

Apex had hired a sub-contractor to do the work on the roof, which had in turn hired W&W Restoration – a sub-sub contractor, according to Edward Merrell, an attorney for Apex Roofing. He said he believed the deceased boy’s brother was W&W Restoration’s foreman.

“We have not been able to find anyone from that crew to talk with,” Merrell told

A search for a W&W Restoration in Alabama resulted in no companies by that name. The closest W&W Restoration was located in Eatonton, Georgia. Calls to that W&W Restoration were not immediately returned.

Merrell said Apex was investigating all of its subcontractors to ensure that they were compliant with local regulations. However, he said Alabama law does not require contractors to get state licensing.

“All they have to do is roll into town and get a business license from the city,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of problems with Hispanic contractors who pop up, do a little work, take the money, disappear and then pop up under another name. It’s very difficult to find them and charge them with anything.”

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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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