Local officials warn of falling ice as temps warm up

As the weather warms up and snow and ice start to melt, those massive icicles on homes and businesses can be dangerous.

Melting pieces or the entire icicle could come crashing down and cause harm to your possessions, or other people.

They are eye-catching.

"We've seen some that, you know, again, we didn't measure them, but 15 feet in length," said Patrick McGowan.

But as they melt, watch out!

"It could be, you know, hundreds of pounds up above your head," McGowan said.

McGowan, who is the sales manager at Style Exteriors in Oak Lawn, says if you have icicles longer than a foot dangling from your home, section off the area below and then call a professional.

But if the icicles are less than 12 inches long and you can safely remove them, McGowan says you can do so with a snow shovel or roof rake.

"Hit them to the side so that they fall you know, laterally, and then safely down to the ground," McGowan said.

McGowan suggests gently knocking them down one at a time, while wearing eye protection and says to be sure you are not directly underneath them.


The Chicago Department of Buildings says business owners are responsible for monitoring any potential hazards from snow and ice accumulation.

"We don't want landlords going up on roofs by themselves; they're going to hurt themselves. We don't want landlords sending untrained people up on the roof," said City of Chicago Building Commissioner Matt Beadet.

But officials say business owners should post warning signs and clear snow and ice from public sidewalks, and parking lots.

"We certainly don't want tenants going up on roofs themselves. Again, let nature take its course," Beadet said.

If you have a large amount of icicles hanging from the gutters, McGowan says that could mean you have a ventilation and insulation problem. He suggests both of those be checked by a professional before winter strikes to prevent icicles from forming in the first place.