NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- The death of the Mount Vernon man who fell Saturday while painting the auditorium at the Westchester Exceptional Children's School in North Salem has been ruled accidental.
Claudinei Martins, 34, who originally was from Brazil, was among eight workers from the Go Touch painting company in Mount Vernon hired by the school to paint the auditorium. According to state trooper Marko Kos, who investigated the accident, Martins was on a ladder that was raised 30 feet from the floor.
"From my understanding, he was reaching to paint a corner, lost his balance and fell off the ladder. He landed on the side of his head," Kos said. "Then the ladder slid down and fell on top of him."
According to Kos, Martins still was alive after hitting the floor. He was rushed to the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, where he was later pronounced dead.
"There was nothing suspicious. It was ruled an accident," Kos said.
Kos said Martins was a migrant worker who probably was inexperienced as a painter. The accident and death of Martins was a shock to many at the school for children with special needs.
"The administration and staff of the school are extremely upset that a young man lost his life in our auditorium," said John Caralyus, who has been on the board of trustees at the school for 20 years. "We send our condolences and love to his family in Brazil. We hope they remember what a wonderful man and father that he was."
According to Caralyus, the body of Martins has been flown back to Brazil for funeral services. The incident occurred around 1 p.m., which was about the same time a tag sale to raise money for the school was taking place.
"I just met all of them earlier that morning," Caralyus said."They were looking at things at the tag sale and were all excited about painting the auditorium. And then the tragedy happened and Martins died. They are devastated by what happened."
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