8-year-old girl killed when cabinet falls off wall at Orange County school

KIRYAS JOEL, Orange County (WABC) -- An 8-year-old girl died in an Orange County school Tuesday after a cabinet fell off of a wall and struck her in the head.

It happened around 2:30 p.m. at the Kiryas Joel Union Free School at 7 Isreal Zupnick Drive in the village of Kiryas Joel, where state police responded to a call of a medical emergency.

Authorities say the preliminary investigation revealed that Ruchy Friedrich was in a classroom with two of her teachers when she climbed on to a chair to retrieve an item from a large cabinet that was affixed to the rear wall.

The cabinet apparently fell off of the wall, causing severe head trauma.

Friedrich was transported by Hatzolah EMS to Good Samaritan Hospital, where she pronounced dead.

"It's probably one of the worst phone calls that a parent can get from school is that something happened with a child and it's something that is never going to be reversed," said Yossi Gestetner, of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council. "When such a thing happens, especially in a large tight knit community, news travels fast. It is felt. People know the family. It's devastating."

The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head.

"We are devastated by the tragic accident, which took the life of one of our students," Superintendent Joel Petlin said in a statement. "We are cooperating with the investigation, and we are providing grief counseling to students and staff affected by this tragedy. Our heartfelt prayers go out to the family and the community at this difficult time."

The investigation is ongoing.

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