Friends Remember Man Killed in Hotel Fall

Victim was active in local comedy improv scene

By Natalie Martinez and Phil Rogers
|  Thursday, Dec 13, 2012  |  Updated 10:24 PM CDT
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Nicholas Wieme was an aspiring comedic actor with iO.

Nicholas Wieme was an aspiring comedic actor with iO.

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Questions Surround Hotel Roof Accident

Comedian dies after falling down hotel smokestack.

Man Dies After Fall Down Hotel Smokestack

A man who climbed to the top of the Intercontinental Hotel, apparently to take a photo, fell down a smokestack and later was pronounced dead. The man was identified as 23-year-old Nicholas Wieme.
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As investigators try to figure out what led to a man's deadly fall from the roof of the Intercontinental Hotel, the victim's friends are mourning his untimely death.

Nicholas Wieme, 23, died Thursday morning after falling 22 feet down a smokestack. He went onto the roof to take photos, apparently climbed a ladder along the smokestack before falling.

Wieme moved to Chicago from Minneapolis a couple of years ago. The aspiring actor was part of a comedy troupe at Lakeview's iO.

"He was just a tenacious artist. He wanted to make art that affected people, and most of all he was a huge energy on stage. When he took the stage, you couldn't help but watch," fellow cast member Matt Higbee said.

Wieme's next show with the group was scheduled for Monday, which will likely be turned into a tribute performance.

"He was eccentric in the best way, in the way that you'd always wanna know that person because it's always something special and different," another cast member, Jeff Quintana, said.

Wieme became wedged in an elbow of the shaft of the chimney, very close to the drop to the basement. After the fall, he was able to either text or call his girlfriend for help.

Thirty firefighter companies were called and more than 100 firefighters assisted in the rescue, but he was pronounced dead at Northwestern Hospital.

Wieme's last post on his Facebook page from Wednesday night said "Kate took me to MJ's Steakhouse," which is located on the hotel's first floor.

A fire department source told NBC5 that there was a lock on the door to the roof, but when firefighters arrived it was unlocked and had not been forced open.

The rooftop area of the hotel had once been used as an observation deck, but has long been closed to the public.

The hotel issued a statement after the incident, noting it "holds the safety, comfort and well-being of our guests and employees as our top priority and concern."

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