Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ice rescues for autos near completion

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CREWS blasted frozen cars with hot water and steam on Monday to free vehicles that had been frozen in a parking lot after a water-main burst almost a week ago.

The unusual rescue operation was conducted by a private industrial pipe services company, Uni-Jet, at the Northwood Oaks apartments parking lot, near Jefferson Avenue and Adsum Drive.

Uni-Jet operations manager Darrin Lukie said Monday afternoon they were close to removing most of the 27 vehicles that had been stuck since last Tuesday in ice 25 centimetres deep in places. He said the job would be finished by today.

"We've got the worst ones out already," he said.

Gord Burns, an on-site crew member of Uni-Jet, explained two methods were used to melt the ice: blasting it with 200 C steam and spraying 100 C water.

"Don't know which one is going to work faster," he said.

The crews used a hose connected to a truck to blast the vehicles with water and steam. The equipment the company used was more powerful than, but similar to the common pressure-washer commonly used to clean garages, decks and sidewalks.

When the vehicles were free, a tow truck took the ice-caked vehicles away.

There was concern that with wheels rims and functions such as brakes frozen for so long, it would be a while until the vehicles are again roadworthy.

Apartment resident Baldev Dhanjal was missing work Monday because of his frozen vehicle.

"I can't even get a rental vehicle because I don't have a place to park that one, and I'm not going to work because I don't have any means," said Dhanjal.

Dhanjal moved here from India, and after living in Canada for only two years, he was surprised something such as this could even happen.

"I don't know now what will happen," he said, "But anyhow, my community people, they are all very supportive, especially the property manager, she is helping a lot."

estefania.wujkiw@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 7, 2014 B3

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Updated on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 8:10 AM CST: replaces photo, adds video

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