A harsh winter and a quick thaw have created a dangerous scenario for falling ice. A 56-year-old man is recovering in an Ottawa hospital tonight after he was struck by a 100-kilogram chunk of ice that slid off his roof on Ottawa’s Cooper Street. The older homes in that neighborhood have a lot of character but they also have very pitched roofs which make for an ideal plane to send ice and snow flying.  Earlier today, just down the block from where that incident happened, a man's car was demolished. Jonathan Reeves got the shock of his life when he went to get into his car this morning.

‘There was a big chunk of ice on my car,’ explains Reeves as he looks at the damage, ‘my windshield is gone, and the frame is bent so I’m not too happy about it.’

 Reeves had parked, as usual, in the driveway right beside the roof line of the house where he lives.

‘I'm very happy it did not hit me, it could have hurt very, very badly.’

That's what happened yesterday just down the block from Reeves.  A 56-year-old man was walking beside the house where he lives when he was hit with a massive chunk of ice.

He sustained a concussion, a big gash and a broken collarbone.

‘Certainly it could have killed him,’ says J.P. Trottier with Ottawa Paramedic Services, ‘had it been a direct hit on his head, it could definitely have killed him.’

On the driveway beside the house, large chunks of ice and snow that had fallen from the roof are clearly visible today.  The advice from roofing companies is to be aware of your surroundings as you are walking and look up to ensure you are not in danger of being hit by falling ice. Don Mann with Sanderson Roofing says with such a harsh winter and a sudden turnaround in temperatures, these are ideal conditions for snow and ice to slide.

‘That ice will let go and quite often it doesn’t make any noise or give any warning,’ says Mann, as he surveys the damage outside the house on Cooper Street, ‘sometimes you can hear it sliding down the valley like an avalanche and it gives you a chance to run but sometimes it just releases and comes down quietly.’

In Ottawa’s Byward market, the National Capital Commission is taking preventative measures.  For the past six weeks, Roof Maintenance Solutions has been knocking the icicles and snow build-up off the heritage buildings in the market, with their steeply pitched roofs.

‘It’s an absolute hazard for people,’ says John Flinn, the general manager of the company, ‘the poor person who got hit yesterday, I feel terrible for him but this is what we've been doing day in and day out for the last six weeks.’

Flinn says business owners need to ensure their buildings are safe and customers need to heed the signs that warn of falling ice. Roofing companies say there are preventative steps people in residential areas as well.  Flinn advices people to walk around their property to see if there is any evidence of ice or snow about to fall.  If there is, rope it off, move your car.  It could save your life or the life of someone you love.