Retired Houston firefighter fighting to walk again after violent attic fall

KATY, Texas (KTRK) -- Last week, we introduced you to a Katy dad of three who was severely injured after he went into his attic to hook up the wiring to mount a new television.

Tragically, Brian Lepori fell through the ceiling in front of his three children, suffering five broken ribs and a traumatic brain injury. That was the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Since then, he's been at TIRR Memorial Hermann learning how to walk and talk again.

This isn't the first attic accident in Houston this holiday season. Larry Schulin is a retired Houston Fire Department Senior Captain. He spent 31 years educating on safety and rescuing those in need. But just a few weeks ago, he was the one needing rescuing.

Schulin always loved Christmas, and now that he's a grandpa, he does it up big.

"I was putting out our decorations, as usual. For 18 years, these decorations have been placed in a certain area in my attic," recalls Schulin.

When he went to return the empty boxes to his attic, he suddenly fell through floor.

"When I landed, I fell in a jackknife position. My legs were up, my head was up, and I came down directly on my lower back and totally obliterated my l2 vertebrae," says Schulin.

Doctors told him he also endured severe internal injuries that affected the nerves.

"They basically said, 'We can't tell you that you are going to walk again. We can't tell you that aren't going to walk again.' That's what I needed to hear," adds Schulin.

After surgery, he moved to TIRR Memorial Hermann in The Woodlands for rehab, and while he still has little feeling in his left leg, he's made significant progress.

A part of his rehab includes playing fetch with Cruz the dog, and he is even learning to walk to the rhythm of music.

Throughout it all, his wife Cynthia has been by his side.

"She's my biggest supporter and best therapist I have," says Schulin.

"We talk about Christmas miracles. He's it. He is it," says Cynthia Schulin.

A miracle, combined with Schulin's motivation to get better: his family.

"I want to play ball with my grandson," says Schulin.

Since Schulin is a retired firefighter we asked his advice on attic safety. He did have plywood placed in his floor, but something still gave way. He says to consider alternate storage spaces, such as a garage or buy a storage bin for items like decorations. If you absolutely have to use your attic for storage, look into specialized flooring just for attics and if you're unsure how to install, have an expert do the work for you.

Friends set up a GoFundMe page for Schulin to help cover medical expenses.

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