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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. Credit: Theodore Parisienne

Huge chunks of ice fell Wednesday near 1 World Trade Center, sending pedestrians scrambling 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 to people or damage to cars reported, the NYPD said. Officials said they were trying to determine where the ice was falling from.

Anthony Hayes, spokesman for the Port Authority, said if ice was falling from 1 World Trade, it might be because the building is unoccupied -- and unheated. As floors are filled and heat is used in the building, ice won't be able to accumulate.

Traffic in Lower Manhattan was closed or rerouted in the morning. Roadways were reopened for the afternoon rush.

"Hundreds of pieces of ice were coming down Vesey Street and Murray [Street]. 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."

Richeh and his co-workers were standing on Murray and West streets next to the Goldman Sachs building when they heard the ice falling. He said blocks of ice scattered when they landed at their feet, forcing them to run for cover. He said ice fell for almost 45 minutes.

Hayes said he could not confirm whether the ice came from 1 World Trade or its spire.

Hayes said a crew inspected the tower Wednesday and "did not find anything unusual."

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