A father was killed and his son critically injured after they were electrocuted in a “freak accident” outside a church in Seattle.
The 52-year-old father and his son, 27, were on a job painting the exterior of the Madrona Grace Presbyterian Church on Saturday when they went to move an aluminum ladder around 3:20 p.m., according to the Seattle Police Department and the Seattle Times.
The men were both standing on the ground when a gust of wind blew the top of the ladder into a nearby pole, electrocuting them both, the police department said in a news release.
The older man was pronounced dead at the scene, while his son was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, the release said.
According to the Times, the pair worked for the La Palma Painting & Carpentry company, and had been hired to paint the church’s exterior.
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“When the guys were finished with the paint, they moved the ladder down and it touched a little bit of the cable,” Domingo Bedolla Nava, who also works at La Palma, told the outlet. “I heard them hit the floor.”
Madrona Grace Pastor Kathy Keener said the incident occurred just as the men were finishing up the job.
“It’s a freak accident, and we’re so sad,” she told the Times. “They were very nice men, and they had painted other homes in the neighborhood. I drove by every day.”
Keener added that she has plans to start a fund for their family.
The incident will be investigated by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries because it happened in a work setting, a fire department spokesperson told the Times.
Spokespersons for the church and for La Palma did not immediately return PEOPLE’s requests for comment.