Falling Ice Dangers in NYC

New York Icicles

Getting anywhere after a snowstorm in New York has always been quite treacherous.

Between the mountains of snow banks and the seemingly endless slush puddles that end with soggy socks and a cold heart, scanning for hazards is a full-time job.

With New York’s ever-expanding skyline, it’s time to look up toward one of the more unthought-of concerns: falling ice.

How Many People Die From Icicles

About 15 people die each year in the United States from falling icicles. Many more are injured; substantial property damage is attributed to falling icicles and ice.

How are Icicles Created?

Icicles typically form when the outside temperature is below freezing, and the sun still shines. The sun causes the rooftop snow to melt and roll off the building.

As the drops fall, they lose heat and begin to freeze again—the byproduct of this process creates icicles.

In addition to the sun melting the snow, many buildings also experience icicles due to the building's internal heaters.

If you spot icicles in your home or workplace, the good news is that ridding your establishment of them is pretty straightforward. Grab yourself a ladder and ensure it’s secure (if possible, have someone assist you in holding it).

After securing yourself, you may grab an ice pick or chisel and gently break off the ice.

Be sure not to use too much force, as this may cause damage to your house and or yourself. If removing the problem yourself doesn’t sound like something you feel safe doing, we recommend isolating the area beneath the icicles until they pass.


While no specific guidelines may require property owners to clear ice off their establishments, New York’s Department of Building requires that “a building’s exterior walls and appurtenances thereof shall be maintained in a safe condition.”

However, when it comes to prevention, the only honest answer is to modify existing structures or to have additional add-ons—both come at an expense that most property owners opt out of paying.

Although there isn’t strict enforcement of these regulations, any owner who doesn’t comply with these guidelines may be liable—should anything happen on their property due to their negligence.

We work hard to help our clients seek justice when they were injured wrongly due to unforeseen circumstances.

Call our firm today to get started.

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