Work underway to free burned Old City building from layer of ice

OLD CITY (WPVI) -- The extremely cold temperatures this week means the water used to extinguish a fire in the Old City section of Philadelphia over the weekend left two buildings encased in ice.

All that heavy ice was prompted concerns about the structural integrity, so work was underway Tuesday to melt all that ice.

A restoration team brought in some heat to try and melt away the ice coating the two buildings in the 300 block of North 3rd Street.

They chipped and shoveled, but it's not turning out to be easy.

Just ask Rob Brewer, who was making an attempt to move his ice-covered car.

"My goal is just to just get it out of this part and maybe park on the other side of the street tonight. Tomorrow should be warmer. It will be easier," he said.

The fire burned a single-family home and an apartment next door.

"What it must be like to come back to your house and see it looking like an ice castle. It must just be so surreal for them," said Melissa Dunphy.

She explained that the house at 309 has deep meaning for the neighborhood. The owner, a historian, and architect, built a reproduction of an Old City tavern from the 1700s right on the roof.

But, it may be destroyed along with other artifacts.

"I know the owner had historical maps inside his house that I am sure is just completely destroyed, which is tragic for the people who care about the history of the neighborhood," said Dunphy.

Another danger: heavy, icy stalactites hanging from the building that could fall.

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