City officials today warned landlords to secure the rooftops of their buildings following an Emerson College student’s fatal fall from a Roxbury rooftop Sunday morning.
The student, 21-year-old Justin Amorratanasuchad, apparently stepped backwards, lost his balance and fell four stories while working on a film project, officials said. He was a film production assistant originally from Seattle.
Police found his body about 10:45 a.m. Sunday in the rear of the building at 610 Columbus Ave., adjacent to the Darryl’s Corner Bar and Kitchen at the intersection of Northampton Street. He did not live at that apartment.
City officials said today that the fall seems to be a tragic accident, but that inspectors were investigating the property. It appears that the entryway to the roof had been locked, but that the lock was tampered with, according to Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for Mayor Thomas Menino.
Officials said today that the tragedy should serve as a reminder to property owners to safeguard roof access to ensure public safety.
“Let’s take this opportunity to remind landlords to secure their rooftops to prevent tragedies like this,” said Joyce. She said the mayor expresses his condolences to Amorratanasuchad’s family.
The incident remains under investigation but appears to be a tragic accident, said Elaine Driscoll, a spokeswoman for Boston police.
“At this point, according to witness statements, it would appear the victim, while filming, may have stepped back and lost his balance, leading to the fall,” she said.
She said district detectives are working closely with the city Inspectional Services Department to continue to investigate.
A representative of the property owner, CSOH Properties LLC of Boston, could not be reached for comment today.
Amorratanasuchad has been described by family and friends as a popular film student, a junior at Emerson College who had a passion for his craft.
As a high school student, he was among several students recognized by the National Student Television Awards program.
His older brother, Jesse, told the Seattle television news outlet KING-TV 5 that Justin always loved making films.
“It’s just a tough loss, a tragedy, not something you can put into words,” Jesse said. “It’s a major ripple, and I just … I want people to remember, just to remember him and to appreciate people you may have. Because you may never know.”
College officials said today that they are working with Amorratanasuchad’s family to organize an event to remember him. His funeral will be in Seattle.
The death of Amorratanasuchad was the latest in series of tragic roof falls in Boston over the years.
In November, a 21-year-old photography major at the Art Institute of Boston, Shawn Dow of Peabody, died after he fell off the roof of a building on Glenville Avenue in Allston.
In September, 2006, a 21-year-old Northeastern University student died after falling from the roof of his off-campus apartment building in Roxbury. The student, Brian Evans, a political science major from California, had returned to a party when he climbed out a window and up to the roof from his third-floor bedroom on Northampton Street.
In July, 2006, David Magoon, a 24-year-old Harvard Medical School student plunged to his death while climbing on a fire escape leading to the roof of his Back Bay apartment building.
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