West Philadelphia's ‘Ice Palace' Demolished

After mesmerizing amateur photographers and worrying neighbors for a week, a building left encased in ice after a two-alarm blaze last week was torn down.

Surrounded by heavy metal walls, a backhoe clawed away at the insides of the Locust Medical Center at 52nd and Locust Streets in West Philadelphia on Monday morning.

The three-story building that housed doctor's offices and a pharmacy was gutted by flames before sunrise a week before. Firefighters poured water on the building in 3 degree weather leaving it, cars and the surrounding area in ice.

Spectators flocked to the area to take pictures of the building that was dubbed the 'Ice Palace' or 'Ice Castle.' Residents living nearby had more prudent fears that the medical center's weak masonry walls could be pulled down under the ice's weight.

Inspectors from the city's Department of Licenses & Inspections worked with the building's owner to fence-off the area and keep an eye on the structure until a demolition crew could be lined up.

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