ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. (WFMY/WBTV) – The wife of a man who was killed after a tree-cutting accident said her husband “loved climbing trees.”

Family and friends are remembering Brian Keith Wilmoth, 31, who was killed after cutting down a tree that had fallen onto a power line. (Skyler Childress/WFMY)

Brian “Keith” Wilmoth, 31, from Wilkes County, died Wednesday after a tree he was cutting fell on him after it hit power lines.

His wife, Karla said, “I don’t know what we’ll do, I don’t know” as the couple has three young children together.

“He loved our kids equally. All three,” she said.

Family and friends gathered Wednesday night at Charity Hill Baptist Church to remember Keith.

“It’s overwhelming, you know, to find out that it was actually real, it was actually him. The church is in shock,” Pastor Brian Cardwell said.

Karla said she’s leaning on her faith.

“I’ve had an overwhelming amount of grace surrounding me. God has given me that today,” she said.

Wilmoth works for the Asplundh Tree Expert Company and Energy United and was working in the area of Dover Church and Mountain Ridge Church Roads.

Officials say cutting trees and clearing debris near power lines is extremely dangerous. Ellendale Assistant Fire Chief David White says his crews are required to wear protective gear. He believes Wilmoth was wearing proper equipment. Still, he said, it is no guarantee against injury or worse.

The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office said the tree was resting on power lines and launched upward hitting him after it was cut.

Other crew members rushed to help but it was too late, said Sheriff Chris Bowman.

“There was nothing that could be done,” he said.

Officials do believe what happened Wednesday morning was just an accident, but OSHA and other officials will be looking into the situation.

“Just very tragic,” said Bowman.

Parts of western North Carolina suffered significant damage Monday from strong storms.

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