Wabash reopens in South Loop; was closed by ice falling from frozen fire escape

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Part of Wabash Street in the South Loop reopened early Monday after being closed over the weekend due to falling ice, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Ice had encrusted a fire escape and other parts of the front of a building at 615 S. Wabash St. Saturday night after a sprinkler system broke on an upper floor, according to Chicago Police at the scene.

A spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department said the exact cause of the water leak was not known, but the leak caused water to spill from a top floor down the front of the building, which then froze and encased a front-facing fire escape.

The leak was stopped, and crews immediately closed down the sidewalk as police put up barricades at both ends of the block to prevent vehicles and pedestrians from straying into the area to prevent injuries from falling ice. No injuries were reported.

The street was reopened by 5:30 a.m. Monday but the sidewalk in front of the building remained closed, according to Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Wabash was closed Saturday night and all of Sunday between Balbo and Harrison due concerns about falling ice, as crews applied a calcium-chloride compound to melt the ice, according to Rich Guidice, first deputy director of the OEMC.

Several businesses on the block closed shop until the situation is resolved out of fears the icy fire escape could be dangerous to people on the street, Guidice said. A building engineer will be on the scene Monday to determine whether the fire escape is safe for continued use.