Subj: Huge Block of Ice Falls From Sky
Date: 1/27/02 1:43:09 PM Pacific Standard Time

Huge Block of Ice Falls From Sky


A chunk of ice, “half the size of a car” fell out of the sky
and ripped through the roof of a repair service area at an
Acura dealership in Charleston, South Carolina. Authorities
say samples of the ice are being tested by state officials,
but for now, the source of the ice remains a mystery.

The ice landed about 9 a.m. last Wednesday, just missing a
dealership employee and causing $5,000 damage to the roof
and damage to a new car, according to St. Andrews Fire
Department Captain Ray Gorham. “It punched through the roof
like you punch your hand through a piece of paper,” he says.
“It had to come from high up and had to be traveling at a
high rate of speed. It had to be a fairly large piece
because it put a 3-foot hole in the roof.”

Acura parts and service manager Mike Huggins had just
strolled through the room  when the ball of ice dropped with
a loud bang. “Another minute earlier, and I would have been
right beneath it,” Huggins says. “I heard a big explosion,
and as soon as I did, some of the roof was lying on the

At first he thought an air conditioning unit on the roof had
exploded, but then noticed the ice on the ground. “There was
a two-and-a-half foot by three-and-a-half piece - a pretty
big slab - on the floor, with lots of little chunks,”
Huggins says. “We saved a couple of chunks.”

There was speculation that the ice came from a leaking
aircraft toilet that became frozen outside the plane and
then fell off, but Huggins says the ice seemed clear and
pure. “It didn’t have an odor, and it was hard as a rock. It
looked like a big hunk of ice, some clear and some white,
like normal ice would be,” he says.

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office called in
firefighters to determine if the ice contained any hazardous
material. They found no trace of a hazard but called
Emergency Preparedness Department officials who sent samples
to a lab.

Gorham says that by the time he and other firefighters saw
the ice, much of it had melted and it looked brownish.
Huggins says the ice became discolored as it melted and
mixed with insulation, asphalt and rocks from the roof.

“I have no clue where it came from,” Gorham says. “My best
guess is that it was from the edge of a meteor.” He checked
with FAA officials who told him there was no air traffic in
the area at that time. Huggins speculates that the FAA would
not disclose the presence of any military aircraft.

“Lots of police and firefighters came by just to have a look
because nobody could believe that what was being radioed out
had really happened,” says Huggins.

Says Gorham, “ In my 16 years of fire service, it’s the
strangest thing I ever saw.”