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Falling ice shuts Lower Manhattan streets

Streets around One World Trade Center were closed

Streets around One World Trade Center were closed on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, as ice again fell off the 1,776-foot building. This piece, about six-by-four feet, fell from the tower but was blown by the wind toward a nearby building. Photo Credit: Theodore Parisienne

Huge chunks of ice fell near One World Trade Center on Wednesday, sending pedestrians running for cover in a three-block radius during the morning rush hour as police shut down traffic from Canal Street to the Battery tunnel in Lower Manhattan.

There were no injuries reported or damage to cars, according to the NYPD. Officials said they were trying to determine where the ice was falling from.

Traffic continued to be closed through the morning while hundreds of office workers from Goldman Sachs where forced to use the building's back entrance to get to their offices.

"Hundreds of pieces of ice were coming down Vesey Street and Murray. When you heard them land it sounded like a bomb," said Sammy Richeh, 58, of Brooklyn, a building maintenance worker. "It was scary. A lot of people were running," he said.

Richeh and his co-workers were standing on Murray and West streets next to the Goldman Sachs building when they heard the ice falling from the area of One World Trade Center's spire. He said blocks of ice shattered as they landed at their feet forcing them to run for cover behind the Goldman Sachs' building away from West Street. He said ice fell for almost 45 minutes.

He said he saw the ice fall and fly across the sky over the highway before it landed at the front entrance of the Goldman Sachs building which faces One World Trade. "The ice covered all these three blocks," said Richeh.

Anthony Hayes, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said he could not confirm if the ice came from the spire. He said "extreme weather has caused this to happen across the city."

Hayes said crews have "been monitoring ice accumulation, removing bulks of ice," from the building's outside elevator which is currently being removed. One World Trade's internal elevators are now operational, he said.

Wednesday afternoon, the Port Authority was sending up engineers to assess the ice accumulation, according to the city's Office of Emergency Management.

Earlier this month, police closed some streets in Lower Manhattan when ice began falling from One World Trade Center.

The incident occurred over the PATH station entrance and the PA had to install a new overhang at the entrance of the train station's entrance to protect commuters.


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