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Man taking photos falls from top of Mag Mile hotel
[December 13, 2012]

Man taking photos falls from top of Mag Mile hotel

Dec 13, 2012 (Chicago Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A man trying to take a photo from the top of the Intercontinental Hotel on Michigan Avenue fell 22 feet down a smokestack, according to authorities.

The Chicago Fire Department responded to the hotel, at 505 N. Michigan Avenue, about 1:10 a.m. after someone called and reported a person threatening to jump.

Firefighters later learned the man fell into a smokestack, Fire Department Spokeswoman Meg Ahlheim said, and a "confined space" rescue bringing 30 department companies and about 100 firefighters and paramedics was called.

More than two dozen department vehicles, including two department rescue squads, a hazardous materials truck, at least two ambulances and a department command van lined Michigan Avenue.

The man fell 22 feet into an angled portion of the 6-foot wide smokestack and is wedged in, Ahlheim said. After the angle, the chimney is vertical for about 42 floors.

Fire crews cut into the wall adjacent to the angled portion and used wood boards to block the man's fall, should he adjust his position at all, Ahlheim said.

As of about 4 a.m., firefighters were going to be lowered into the chimney to try to remove him from above.

The man was able to communicate with his girlfriend, either with phone calls or tex messages, Ahlheim said, but firefighters haven't had contact with him since about 3:15 a.m.

Crews inside were monitoring carbon monoxide levels inside the soot-filled shaft, she said. The man wasn't in danger from CO or heat, she said.

Police blocked vehicle traffic on Michigan Avenue between Illinois and Ohio streets.

The man's condition wasn't immediately available. Check back for more information. Twitter: @peternickeas ___ (c)2012 the Chicago Tribune Visit the Chicago Tribune at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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