NEWPORT NEWS -- 'There's really no words to describe it. Deep in pain in your heart, I mean, unbearable,' shared Joseph Normandeau, owner of Cut 'Em Down Tree Service.

Tuesday afternoon, one of Normandeau's workers, Edward John Downing, Jr., died on a job at Forrest Pines Apartment Homes off Old Courthouse Way.

More than a worker, 39-year-old Downing was Normandeau's brother.

'A loving father, dear father, just a great person. Through all the tragedy, he made an error today, and we all need to learn to slow down,' said Normandeau.

He told 13News Now Downing was the foreman on the job site and had about 18 years of experience in the tree-cutting business. Downing fell about 30 feet to his death from the lift he was working on.

'We believe he had his safety harness on, but we believe that he didn't strap it, rushing, and didn't clamp it in,' explained Normandeau.

Someone who lives in the complex said crews have been there for more than a month clearing land for a senior living community.

Normandeau said Downing is survived by a wife and 3 children.

'At the end of the day, we all need to slow down, count our blessings, and take it one day at a time,' advised Normandeau. 'He's my brother. I mean, it's almost like burying myself.'

The Virginia State Police is investigating exactly what happened leading up to Downing's death.

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