A father and son who were painting the exterior of a Madrona church were injured — the older man fatally — when the aluminum ladder they were moving touched a power line.

The accident happened around 3:20 p.m. Saturday at the Madrona Grace Presbyterian Church, located at the corner of Marion Street and 32nd Avenue in Seattle. 

The older man, 55, was pronounced dead at the scene by Seattle Fire Department crews who had worked to save him. The younger man, 27, was taken to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, according to Detective Mark Jamieson of the Seattle Police Department.

Domingo Bedolla Nava, of Everett, has been part of the painting crew — La Palma Painting & Carpentry of Kenmore — for 13 years.

“It’s been a long time,” he said. “They are like my family.”

Seattle Fire Department spokesman David Cuerpo said the older man was holding the ladder and the younger man was on the ladder when it fell against the power line.


But Bedolla Nava said the two men were on the ground, one on each side of the ladder, when the accident occurred.

“When the guys were finished with the paint, they moved the ladder down and it touched a little bit of the cable,” he said. “I heard them hit the floor.”

A woman walking by called 911, he said.

Madrona Grace Pastor Kathy Keener was standing outside the church, talking with church members who had walked over to investigate.

“It’s a freak accident, and we’re so sad,” Keener said, adding that the church had hired the men to paint the outside of the church, a job they had nearly finished.

“They were very nice men, and they had painted other homes in the neighborhood,” she said. “I drove by every day.”

At around 3:30 p.m., Keener received several texts and calls saying there had been an accident at the church. One just read: “Emergency. Right now.”


The pastor plans to start a fund for the men’s families.

Because the accident occurred in a work setting, it will be investigated by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, Cuerpo said.

Staff reporter Sandi Doughton contributed to this report.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Seattle Police Detective Mark Jamieson’s name. It has since been updated.