Watch for Snow and Icicles Falling From Rooftops; No Injuries Known

The Sidewalk in Front of 415 Congress Street is Closed to Pedestrian Traffic for Now.

The Sidewalk in Front of 415 Congress Street is Closed to Pedestrian Traffic for Now.

A Huge Icicle at 10 Exchange Street in the Old Port.

A Huge Icicle at 10 Exchange Street in the Old Port of Portland.

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 2, 544)

“I heard a hugh crash.  It sounded like a dump truck,” said Chris Leighton, an attorney in the Attorney Generals Office, 415 Congress Street, Portland, early this afternoon. “That was about 10:30 or 11:00 am.  I emailed our landlord about it immediately, Leighton said in his upstairs office.

The next thing Leighton knew there was a code enforcement officer from the nearby city hall in front of 415 Congress Street.  The sidewalk is closed  to pedestrian traffic and no parking is permitted as well in front of the building, until the matter has been resolved.  City inspector Duane Hanson said he is trying to contact property owner Sheldon Ashby..  “We want to get his permission to get someone up on the roof to check it out,” Hanson said.  According to another source who is a tenant in the building, there may be more than snow on the rooftop.

Bayside Print Services and the Maine Red Claws offices are located in first floor offices in the same building.   It is also home to the Masonic Temple.

Building owner Sheldon Ashby purchased the building almost two years at auction from Kevin Mattson, of Dirigo Capital Advisors, for far less than Mattson hoped to make from the auction. Ashby and his wife Heather paid $1.6 M for the property.

Almost four years ago, Heather Sheldon and a business partner, decided to open their own business Haberfashery Resale/Ashby Realty, on the ground floor of 229 Congress Street.  They were to share the ground floor with the Ashby real estate business. (Please see post herein, dated May 8, 2012, post # 1,132 for more background information.)

However, a fire in the upper floors of the building the couple owns prevented those two businesses from opening there.  At the time of the fire, the Ashby family was out of town – in northern Maine – and could not be reached by cell phone.  It took days for the City to get in touch with the couple about the fire. (Incidentally, Sheldon first got a hint of the fire in Portland at his property through a tv news show they were watching  upstate…)  It was a significant fire that displaced tenants in the building while it was renovated. Eventually, the building was sold. The Ashby family lives in a sprawling home on the Eastern Promenade of Munjoy Hill.

“I’m going to duck when I leave tonight,” said Leighton laughing.

Icicles have been hanging from storefronts as well in the Old Port.  A few have fallen, but fortunately there have been no reports of injuries.  One huge icicle grabbed onto a rooftop at 10 Exchange Street several weeks ago  and so far has refused to let go. (See above right photo.)

Let the Drip Drip Drip begin!

NOTE: l/26/16 – This morning the ban on parking  and preventing pedestrian traffic in front of 415 Congress Street was lifted.  (Please see above paragraph.) That’s because the city was able to get someone up on the roof during last night who cleared metal from it and the snow that was falling onto the sidewalk below, partly because of the metal sheet up there.   Sheldon Ashby, who normally does his own maintenance at 415 Congress Street, is believed to be out of town.

Furthermore, the oversized icicle located at 10 Exchange Street in the Old Port is much diminished – presumably because of the January thaw.  There is also a sign on the sidewalk cautioning walkers about falling icicles in the area.