West Philadelphia building frozen after fire to be demolished

A building encased in ice after a fire in West Philadelphia will have to be torn down.

L&I has ruled the building "imminently dangerous" and ordered its demolition.

Safety fencing has been set up and a collapse zone has been established. The process is now underway to find contractors to perform the demolition.

The building had no open violations, city officials said.

Water from fire hoses instantly froze during the blaze Monday morning at the Locust Medical Center on the 200 block of South 52nd Street.

The ice is adding a significant amount of weight to a building already heavily damaged by flames.

Roads were closed for three blocks around the scene because of those collapse fears.

The closures have been a blow to business for barber Frank Green, whose shop is across the street.

"Our business is right front of the 52 bus stop. We get a lot walk in clientele, a lot of walk-ins, a lot of walk-ins going to and from the El," Green said.

Neighboring buildings, streets, power lines and cars were also frozen.

It was three degrees outside with a wind chill of 16 below zero when the fire erupted.

By Tuesday, the ice-covered building had become something of an attraction, with people stopping by to take photos.

Patrick Hanna owns an adjacent unit next door. It is heavily damaged and crews arrived Tuesday to board it up.

"They are saying if it falls, it will fall on this building. If they tear it down, it will fall on this building," he said.

An investigation into the cause of the fire continues.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.