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Ice cleared from Bell Aliant Tower after falling sheets damaged 2 vehicles

The Moncton Fire Department used a drone to check on how much ice was on the Bell Aliant Tower.  (Moncton Fire Department - image credit)
The Moncton Fire Department used a drone to check on how much ice was on the Bell Aliant Tower. (Moncton Fire Department - image credit)

The Bell Aliant Tower has been cleared of ice after the Moncton Fire Department decided the sheets falling from the tower were a safety hazard.

The fire department had to block off a section of Queen Street after sheets of ice smashed into two vehicles driving by the tower in Moncton on Saturday morning. No one was injured but the two vehicles were badly damaged.

One vehicle had its front windshield destroyed. The other vehicle was totalled after the sheet destroyed the vehicle's roof.

The department was able to use a drone to look at the sheets of ice atop the five platforms of the tower.

"We did find lots of ice up on the upper levels of it," said Platoon Chief Mike Lake.

Two people hired by Bell to maintain the tower were able to climb a ladder inside the tower with shovels. They removed the ice by shovelling the ice into bags and dumping the bags into a chute.

"Nobody else was hurt and it took us about five hours altogether," said Lake.

Could become more common

Lake said there was a real chance that someone could've been injured by the falling sheets of ice.

"For a while there was very large pieces of ice, sheets of ice, raining to the ground. They were quite spectacular for a while," he said.

Lake said it's the first time he's dealt with something like this during his 30 years as a firefighter. He said the tower was treated to prevent ice buildup within the last five years.

But he said ice buildup is something that will need to be considered as more tall buildings are being built. Last summer, Moncton city council approved the development of a building that could be up to 30 floors high.

"If there's going to be an issue, it will rear its head in the next five year. But I've never dealt with it," said Lake.

He said that may look like using drones or having regular inspections to make sure there isn't too much ice buildup.

But he said people should be cautious any time there is freezing rain or thawing snow.

"Pay attention," said Lake. "That is always a good safety point."