CHICAGO (WBBM) — Today’s relatively warm temperatures, following last weekend’s snow, increases the possibility for ice to fall from tall buildings on to the street or sidewalk below.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Debra Dale Reports
Chicago Department of Buildings spokesman Bill McCaffrey tells Newsradio 780’s Debra Dale that fluctuating temperatures can cause the snow on buildings to melt, re-freeze into sheets of ice, then melt again, and fall off in big pieces.
“We had some snow buildup from the snowstorm last week and it is possible with the way the temperatures have fluctuated that some ice has built up,” and it could fall off of buildings, he said.
McCaffrey urges pedestrians to be mindful of their surroundings and use caution when walking around tall buildings, especially if building owners have placed warning signs or cordoned off part of the sidewalk, suggesting that ice has been falling.
At least one person has died as a result of falling ice in Chicago, according to past published reports. In 1994, Donald Booth, of Wisconsin, was killed when a 100-pound chunk of ice fell from the Neiman Marcus Building, 737 N. Michigan Ave. His family later won a $4.5 million settlement against the store, which had failed to put out any warning signs.
In 2005, a woman was seriously injured when a chunk of ice hit her on the head while walking near Erie Street and Michigan Avenue. In January of this year, a woman was injured and taken to the hospital when a piece of ice fell onto her head from the North Bridge Mall, 520 N. Michigan Ave.
In the winter months, police are sometimes forced to block off streets in the downtown and Magnificent Mile areas due to falling ice.