Saskatoon fire department deals with three-storey icicle
It's been the year of the giant icicle in Saskatoon as three multi-storey ice columns have had to be removed from buildings around the city.
Two of the giant icicles were dealt with by building owners.
But today, Saskatoon Fire and Protective Services had to call in contractors to the Princess Anne apartment complex on 8th Street after building owner Pan Am Property management failed to comply with an order to remove a three-storey icicle. The heap of ice encased the power line coming into the building and loomed over a walkway used by building residents.
According to Fire Marshall Wayne Rodgers, Pan Am will be billed for the work which saw workers in a scissor-lift melt down the icicle with a jet of hot water.
"In all cases the owners were notified of our order to remedy the situation and giving them the immediate opportunity to do that. Failure to remedy it by the owner, and the issuance of that order, gives us the legal authority to enter onto the property to eliminate the risk," said Rodgers.
David Phillips, climatologist with Environment Canada, said this year has seen perfect conditions for the formation of the ice columns.
"It is sort of almost a residual of the kind of winter that you've had," said Phillips, who pointed out that icicles form when a secondary heat source -- in these cases heat escaping from the buildings-- causes ice or snow to melt on days where the temperature hovers just below zero.
With highs around the -5 C mark on over half the days in February and March, Phillips said it's little wonder the city has seen more giant icicles.
He pointed out that icicles big and small are an indicator that building and homeowners alike should take notice of.
"On a home where there's not very good insulation, say in the roof, you often see quite gigantic kinds of icicles," said Phillips, adding that people should count themselves lucky to be living in an age of more modern buildings.
"You know 100 years ago there was rarely a winter that would go by in Canada where you wouldn't hear about somebody dying from falling icicles that would impale people."
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