Pipestone man who died in Chicago identified as Nick Wieme

A 23-year-old Pipestone man who died after falling into a smokestack in Chicago, Ill. has been identified as Nicholas Wieme, an aspiring comedian who graduated in 2011 from the University of Minnesota Moorhead.

Police and fire crews responded to the InterContinental Hotel at on North Michigan Avenue at 1:09 a.m. and found a person had fallen into a smokestack while attempting to take photos on the roof of the hotel, Fire Media Affairs said. The person was in an area above a 42nd-floor balcony that is closed off from the general public.

Wieme was with his girlfriend last night - the two had dinner and drinks at the Michael Jordan’s Steak House next door to the hotel, then decided to go to the top of the hotel to check out the smokestack. When he got to the top of the chimney, Wieme thought he had stepped on a ledge, but fell down the extremely hot shaft, and suffered burns throughout his body.

Wieme fell 22 feet into the chimney before striking an angle in the structure, authorities said. The chimney drops off 42 floors after the angle. The fire department cut a hole in the chimney below him and inserted wood beams to keep him from falling, authorities said.

Wieme had been calling and sending messages to his girlfriend throughout the ordeal. He was also talking to firefighters and paramedics during the rescue operation, but apparently lost consciousness before he was pulled out, because he stopped talking to firefighters at one point.

He was freed and taken in critical condition to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:15 a.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

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Pipestone

Too bad for him. Rest in peace. God bless your family. - Marla Ahlgrimm

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