Michael Ryan was sitting in the front passenger seat of his friend’s car parked in the Old Port Wednesday when he spotted an object falling from the sky.

Seconds later, a large chunk of ice slammed into the front windshield. It bounced off, but sent shards of shattered glass and slivers of ice flying at him.

“It scared the (expletive) out of me,” said the 61-year-old Ryan, who lives in Old Orchard Beach. “I’m not injured. I’m just shook up.”

It was the second time in two weeks that falling ice had damaged a parked car in the Old Port. The first demolished a car parked about 5 feet in front of the parking space where Wednesday’s accident took place.

Ryan had accompanied his friend, Kassie Grant, to Portland on Wednesday afternoon. She had parked at a city meter on Exchange Street, in front of the Holy Donut shop, and he was waiting while Grant went to a doctor’s appointment.

“Michael is lucky to be alive,” said Grant, who lives in Biddeford. “When I got back, Mike was standing outside my car, shaking like a leaf.”

Grant, 23, a single mother, had left her 2-year-old daughter in day care, and was thankful she did. She said she was horrified to see what happened to her vehicle. But she was more concerned about Ryan because of his health history. She said he has had several heart attacks and cardiac surgery.

“This is not OK. There needs to be a wakeup call for building owners because these falling chunks of ice pose a potential death threat,” Grant said.


On Feb. 22, Adam Sousa had parked his car on Exchange Street and left it for the day. He returned to find that several large blocks of ice had fallen on the windshield and rear window, smashing both and demolishing his 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier.

City officials later determined that the ice had slid off the roof of a building at 1 Exchange Street owned by Portland landlord Joseph Soley and his company, Eleven Exchange LLC. It appears that Wednesday’s accident was caused by ice that fell from the roof at 7 Exchange Street, which is also owned by Eleven Exchange LLC.

The city used that first incident to remind commercial property owners it is their responsibility to clear away any snow or ice in danger of falling onto the street below. Two days later, crews were clearing the snow and ice from 1 Exchange St.

Jonathan Rioux, Portland’s deputy director of inspections, notified Eleven Exchange LLC on Feb. 23 that it is responsible for removing snow and ice accumulations that pose a threat to pedestrians or cars on streets and sidewalks. The city told the company that failure to comply with the citation could result in legal action and civil penalties.

Jessica Grondin, the city’s spokesperson, said the latest incident will be investigated by the city’s Inspection Division. Grondin said she did not know who owns the building involved in Wednesday’s incident.

But Portland Police Department Sgt. Joe Ezepek said the police officer who investigated determined that the ice chunk fell off a building roof at 7 Exchange St. According to municipal tax records, 5-7 Exchange Street is owned by Eleven Exchange LLC. The company also owns buildings at 1 and 9 Exchange St.


When Grant and Ryan went into City Beverage, a general store located at 7 Exchange St., they found Soley inside the store, sitting at a table doing paperwork. He told them he wasn’t responsible for the ice damage, Grant said.

“He blew me off,” said Ryan.

Soley’s son, Tim Soley, was contacted Wednesday night. Soley said he would pass along a Portland Press Herald reporter’s contact information to his father. Soley did not attempt to reach the Press Herald.

Sousa said he met with Soley about his accident and the building owner said he would be in touch with his insurance company to see if they would compensate Sousa for the loss of his vehicle. Sousa said Wednesday night that Soley never got back to him.

But Sousa said the Portland community and his fellow bartenders – he works as bartender at DiMillo’s Restaurant – raised more than $5,000 on his behalf, which he used to buy a 2015 Honda Civic.

Grant, who said she is an unemployed single mother, is not sure if she can afford to have her car repaired. Like Sousa, she only carried liability insurance. Falling ice is considered an act of nature and is not reimbursable.

She already owes the towing company $100 and is not sure how much it will cost to have her windshield replaced. A friend gave her and Ryan a ride home on Wednesday, and offered to lend her his vehicle.

“I don’t need any extra stress in my life. This is something that has completely derailed me,” Grant said. “I cried all the way to my house. I just wanted to hold my baby girl.”

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