Tough Jobs: Chris Cuomo, Demolition Man

Chris Cuomo brings down the house when he learns the art of demolition.

ByChris Strathmann and Cleopatra Andreadis via via logo
August 12, 2009, 2:22 PM

Aug. 12, 2009 — -- He may be used to breaking news, but Chris Cuomo had to don a hard hat and get a little training before he could bring down the house as a demolition man.

For the latest in "Good Morning America's" Tough Jobs series, Cuomo, sledgehammer in hand, hit the bricks with Signature Interior Demolition, a demolition contractor based in Queens, N.Y.

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Cuomo was trained in the fine art of demolition as the men of Signature Interior Demolition forcibly remodeled an old restaurant for the new one that would take its place.

Phil Troia, foreman for the group, already went throught the site with contractor Phil Morgan of Hecho Inc, and they determined the entire bar area would be the first target. A wall, floor, bathroom and sink all had to go. Planning for such a large job takes all day, Troya said.

The saying in demolition is "build up, tear down," meaning the crew works its way from the top of the project down. That said, Cuomo went after the walls first.

Prying off the wallpaper was the first order of business.

"See, I felt good about that because I was really hurting the wallpaper," Cuomo said after a particularly large piece dislodged.

Then Cuomo took a sledgehammer and crowbar to the sheetrock and quickly learned that even if you're tearing something up, there's technique to it.

According to Troia, it takes six months to train someone before he'll let them try to take down a wall and ceiling on their own.

As the debris came down, the crew carried it out in a small, efficient assembly line. In less than four hours, they had cleared out 12,000 square feet.

"We've got a whole new place here," Signature Demolition owner Joe Pirreca said.

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