Landmark Theatre worker back to work

Fire rescue crews reach man on top of Landmark Theatre roof. / Photograph by Matt Mulcahy.

Update: 1/11 4:30PMSyracuse Police have identified the worker who was rescued from the Landmark Theatre yesterday. Sean McNulty, 38, suffered very minor injuries when he fell while working on the controlled demolition at the theater.

McNulty was back to work at 6:10 this morning. Patrick DiMauro, the Director of Operations for Hueber-Breuer Construction Company, says, "I think it's a credit to what happens when you follow safety procedures...It's just fantastic in this case."

OSHA is now investigating the incident.


Syracuse Fire Chief Mark McLees says workers were about feet above the Landmark Theatre's stage when some concrete moved and one man lost his balance.

"They're working on steel I-beams and there's not a lot of room to work on. So when this I-beam fell, he must have fell or lost his balance but he fell about 8 feet but his harness and rope held him," said Chief Mark McLees.

The line holding the man was pinned by loose concrete and rescuers were concerned the concrete could fall on the worker. A co-worker quickly hooked the fallen worker into another line and the fire department then got him into another harness. After securing him, the fire department was able to get him out from under the concrete hanging above him and put him back on solid ground again. The fire chief said he should be fine, hopefully nothing more than bumps and bruises.

"It's wide open in that building so if he didn't have his fall protection on he would have fallen all the way down. So it worked as intended. OSHA only lets you fall so far before that fall protection is supposed to grab you so it worked as designed," said McLees.

Bystanders and Landmark Theatre employees could only stand by and watch while the rescue happened. After it was over, the Landmark's executive director was grateful all the proper safety precautions had been in place.

"A lot of it really is demolition. It's just the nature of it, that's why there was a safety harness which is a little different to begin with," said Denise DiRienzo. "Every protection was taken beforehand which is why we do thank god have a happy ending."

DIRienzo says the Landmark's renovation will continue as planned and the theatre is on track to re-open in late 2011.

UPDATE 4:55pm: The Landmark Theater released a statement to assure the public that the theater's roof did not collapse. Theater officials say it was part of a controlled demolition for the stagehouse expansion. The $16.5 million project started in October. Theater officials say part of the process includes a controlled demolition to expand the stage back, to the sides, and up. The expansion will allow the theater to accommodate touring Broadway plays.

UPDATE 3:20 pm: New details on the successful rescue of the construction workers at the Landmark Theatre. The Syracuse Fire Department now says the building did not collapse. Instead the worker fell into an area of the roof and building where structural steel is exposed. Rescuers say the worker fell about eight feet. A safety tether kept him from falling the length of the multi-story building. One of his co-workers reached him with another tether to give him further support until fire department rescuers could reach him. He was taken to Crouse Hospital. Clinton Street is back open in the area.

UPDATE 3:00 pm: Firefighters have just rescued the trapped construction worker. He was covered in soot from the roofing materials that collapsed around him. He was communicating with rescuers and even smoked a cigarette before being taken to Crouse Hospital to be treated. A briefing from the Syracuse Fire Department is expected shortly.


Syracuse police and Syracuse fire are on the scene of a partial roof collapse at the Landmark Theatre. According to investigators one man is trapped after the accident. Syracuse Fire and Rescue have lowered a firefighters into the hole where the construction worker fell. They are talking to the injured worker.

Rescue crews used two extension buckets to reach the roof where the construction worker is trapped. Federal safety officials from OSHA are on the way to investigate.

For weeks construction crews have been working on the building. Clinton Street has been blocked off behind the building. We have a crew on the scene. More information as it comes into the newsroom.