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Despite snow damage at DeYor, ‘Riverdance’ show will go on

Published: Tue, February 23, 2010 @ 12:07 a.m.


FALLEN STEEL: The steel frame of the fire escape outside the DeYor Performing Arts Center lies on the ground beneath the outline of where it once was on the building.


What: Riverdance farewell performances

When: Today, Wednesday, Thursday

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Edward W. Powers Auditorium at DeYor Performing Arts Center, downtown Youngstown.

Tickets: Powers Auditorium box office or www.youngstownsymphony.com

By John W. Goodwin Jr.

YOUNGSTOWN — A farewell appearance by Riverdance will go on despite snow-related damage to the DeYor Performing Arts Center.

Patricia Syak, center director, said the building has received the blessing from city building inspectors and the fire department and will go forward with “Riverdance” shows planned today, Wednesday and Thursday in Powers Auditorium inside DeYor.

Fire department officials sent a truck to the building over the weekend when a buildup of snow and ice on the roof led to a collapse of some of the building facade and the fire escape. The fire escape and loose bricks are considered a major concern.

There is no damage or structural problems on the inside of the theater, officials said.

The building was closed Monday with only a few workers inside and construction crews assessing damage outside. The building — except for the Overture restaurant — is expected to be open to the public today.

The restaurant, Syak said, is closed because a gas line on the damaged side of the building has been shut off until repairs are made. That gas line affects only the restaurant.

Syak said the three Riverdance performances are nearly sold out, and she expects all tickets to be gone by show time. The auditorium can hold up to 2,300 people.

Syak said the facility is safe for the public to use. Any concerns patrons may have will be addressed before each performance.

“We would not be permitted to be inside the building if the fire inspector did not think it was safe,” Syak said. “We will be addressing those [safety] concerns with a live talk on stage so that everyone knows the exits available.”

Syak said there will be limited seating in the balcony on the side of the building where the fire escape was damaged. The rest of the building, she said, has adequate emergency-escape access.

Additional police and firefighters will be on hand at the performances in case of an emergency.

Officials do not yet have an estimate to repair damages to the building. Syak said masonry work to repair the damaged bricks will take place sometime in the spring.

The fire escape will be checked to determine how much repair is needed or if it will need to be replaced.



1city_resident(528 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't see the problem.

- They are limiting seating in the balcony to address the reduced exit capacity.

- Ice forced some of the brick veneer to fall. As long as people aren't allowed to occupy the area below the wall with loose brick, no one should get hurt.

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2Harley_Guy(146 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Lombardo, you have some very valid points; however, the "Afro Dogs" clubhouse was a lot different and they were using illegal utilities.

City_Resident, you seem to be the typical person with their head in the sand. What strikes me the hardest with your comments, which I'm sure you never thought twice about typing, was the word "should". If you are so sure about Youngstown City Officials and the Youngstown City Fire Inspector why didn't you use a more definite word?

Bottom line - this is a bad decision. The only reason it is being allowed is due to economics and politics and I have to agree with Lombardo - public safety has taken a back-seat in the interest of moving stupidity forward.

Has anyone noticed that there has been no mention about letting patrons receive a full refund if they fear for their lives? The news reports yesterday did mention that everyone received a phone call; however, the call was made before the story went public and I'm sure they didn't tell the ticket holders the whole truth...

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3GetReal1006(9 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

There is absolutely no comparison between the Afro Dog's clubhouse and the DeYor, lombardo. If you want to illustrate a point to get your "the sky is falling" message across, please use a reasonable one.
Just another ax to grind.

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4ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

It is plainly obvious that none of you have even a basic understanding of the Youngstown Fire Code, or have any understanding of how structural systems work. You are making broad generalizations based upon generalizations made by a reporter who also does not understand the issues involved.

The number of people allowed in a building is based partly in the number of fire escapes. Each fire escape is rated for x number of people. Should one of those escapes not be functional then the occupancy of the building would have to be reduced so the ratio is maintained.

As to the structural stability of the building, you must really be good if you can make a better determination of the stability of this building just from reading a newspaper article than could be made by trained engineers actually looking at the building.

Basically you need to learn to gather the facts and gain some knowledge before coming on here and demonstrating to the rest of the world just how ignorant you are.

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5leaveusalone(103 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Thank God the fire escape came down because of snow, and not because people were using it to exit the building! But I am very concerned that there's unseen structural damage to the outer walls. And the show coming in today has a LOT of vibrations, from the music and stomping on stage.

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6techjunkie02(12 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Well it is the farewell tour....maybe they will literally bring the house down?

I work near by and this morning the construction workers are still chucking bricks off the side of the building as they were all afternoon yesterday.

It is interesting to see them say that the shows are near sold out yet they are limiting seating near the unusable exits. How can a show be almost sold out yet have enough open seats to shift people out of the problem area?

This whole situation has bad idea written all over it! I like lombardo would be interested in knowing what the State Fire Marshal has to say about this!

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7techjunkie02(12 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

This comments thing needs an edit option!

Also keep in mind that this is the same building that has the sinking parking lot on the South East side of the building next to the box office. The fix for that issue? A chain link fence around the problem area and just let it keep sinking! Jump the fence, you can crawl right under the building! How many more structural issues must surface before something is done properly?

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8city_resident(528 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Harley_Guy wrote:
"City_Resident, you seem to be the typical person with their head in the sand. What strikes me the hardest with your comments, which I'm sure you never thought twice about typing, was the word "should". If you are so sure about Youngstown City Officials and the Youngstown City Fire Inspector why didn't you use a more definite word?"

There are no certainties in life. I wrote "should" because there are stupid people out there who would ignore the warnings and barricades, and put themselves in danger.

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9walter_sobchak(2728 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

Construction methods have changed since the day when this structure was built. When these walls were built, walls were made very thick with stretcher bricks tying the wythes of brick together. No steel would have been used in this type of wall. Thus, the most important concern with multi-wythe brick walls is keeping them water-tight. The coping on the top of the wall is critical to the life of a masonry wall as water seks the path of least resistance. It flows into the wythes, freezes, and will blow brick walls apart. Add a balcony attached to the face of the wall and it is a recipe for disaster. Dollars to donuts that this is why the wall went boom.

As for occupancy, the quantity is based on a number of factors, including the amount of fire escapes. Reduce the fire escapes and there is merely a reduction in occupancy of the balcony.

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10Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 6 years, 5 months ago

If you have any doubts then just don't attend the show. Don't have to be a rocket scientist to be put in a position if you fear for your life to just attend a show. Common sense is all it takes. Just don't go and no worries.

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