Wednesday’s brief turn toward warmer weather led to a series of “freak accidents,” as officials reported melting chunks of ice and sheets of damp snow falling from rooftops, crashing down onto cars below.
“It’s regionally been an issue,” said Jeremy Warnick, spokesman for the Cambridge Police Department. “It’s something we are cautioning folks about.”
Warnick said early Wednesday morning police cordoned off a section of First Street, near the CambridgeSide Galleria, after a large icicle descended from a building and crashed through the windshield of a moving vehicle.
Luckily, he said, the driver of the car was not injured.
Police closed down the street until a special crew removed ice from the nearby complex, to prevent further incidents.
Around 9 a.m. Wednesday, near the Charlestown Navy Yard, Kristin MacDougall and her friend came across a parked car that had its driver’s side squashed by a heavy pile of snow that had apparently rolled off of a building.
She said the car was “smashed like a pancake,” but the owner of the vehicle was nowhere in sight.
Another vehicle, parked on Brimmer Street on Beacon Hill, also reportedly had its windshield broken by ice coming through the glass.
Dave Coyne, a technician and manager at Anytime Auto Glass in Boston, said the company has seen an uptick in calls from people whose windshields have been shattered by wayward ice chunks.
“Ice is crushing the cars and falling off the buildings,” he said. “We have a high-volume shop that has been more busy than normal.”
Some of the damage has gone beyond broken windows.
“We pulled up to a job last week and the car’s roof was dented so bad there was no chance we could get the glass in place,” said Coyne, calling this winter the worst he has seen for these types of accidents in his 25 years in the business.
“One car in particular that we referred to a body shop in Stoughton looked like someone hit it with a hatchet.”
Steve Annear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.