Ice debris at home may be from jet

November 5, 2009 (CHICAGO) It's a strange occurrence. The good news is that no one was hurt. The homeowners, Paul and Linda Dowd, say they are as bewildered by the incident as everyone else.

In the meantime, federal aviation officials have launched an investigation into why it appears a large chunk of ice fell from the sky and damaged the North Side home in the 4200-block of North Wolcott. Authorities say the explanation may surprise you.

"It felt like an earthquake. The whole building shook," said Paul Dowd, homeowner.

Homeowner Linda Dowd describes what happened after she says a piece of the frozen matter plummeted from the sky to take out part of her home's roof. The nursing student says her family heard a loud boom just before 8 p.m. Wednesday night as she and her 11-year-old son Sean watched TV and her husband Paul worked in the attic.

"Came downstairs. The tenant in the basement was already out and said something fell from the sky. There was ice everywhere and the roof is on the ground, a piece of it," said Paul Dowd.

"We didn't know what it was. I thought it was the chimney, but there was no wind. Then, when we walked around front, and saw the hole," said Linda Dowd, homeowner.

With part of the home's roof gone and chunks of what looked like ice everywhere, the Chicago Police were called. The Dowds say about a half dozen officers arrived, "first skeptical," then left flabbergasted by the strange ordeal.

Local authorities speculate that since the home sits about 10 miles from one of O'Hare Airport's east-west runways -- Runway 28 -- the material could possibly be from an aircraft traveling overhead. The FAA was notified but has not confirmed any details of the incident as they investigate.

There was a similar happening in March, 2008, when a large icy object punched through the roof of an Arlington Heights label-making plant. Federal authorities investigated that as well.

Meanwhile, Thursday afternoon, the Dowds are making the best of the situation and are just glad no one got hurt.

"They're going to board it up. I guess the excitement's over," said Paul Dowd, homeowner.

The FAA's first step will be to review radar data from the time of impact to determine which planes were overhead, then see if any of them reported a leak. It is also possible airplanes that flew through damp clouds from anywhere accumulated ice that when they descended into warmer air fell off.

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