Yellow ice fell on Elk Grove Village home's roof. How it got there is a mystery.

  • What a police officer labeled "yellow ice" fell onto the roof of Elk Grove Village resident Dawn Scarpulla Monday morning.

      What a police officer labeled "yellow ice" fell onto the roof of Elk Grove Village resident Dawn Scarpulla Monday morning. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Elk Grove Village resident Dawn Scarpulla describes how a block of "yellow ice" landed on her home Monday morning. What it is and where it came from is a mystery. She believes it fell off a plane on approach to the nearby O'Hare International Airport, but the FAA says that's unlikely.

      Elk Grove Village resident Dawn Scarpulla describes how a block of "yellow ice" landed on her home Monday morning. What it is and where it came from is a mystery. She believes it fell off a plane on approach to the nearby O'Hare International Airport, but the FAA says that's unlikely. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Dawn Scarpulla of Elk Grove Village shows the size and shape of the ice chunks that fell on her roof Monday morning after a roofer brought them down to the ground.

    Dawn Scarpulla of Elk Grove Village shows the size and shape of the ice chunks that fell on her roof Monday morning after a roofer brought them down to the ground. Courtesy of Dawn Scarpulla

 
 
Updated 1/9/2018 6:12 AM

The large, yellow chunk of ice that crashed onto the roof of her Elk Grove Village home Monday morning must have fallen from a passing plane, Dawn Scarpulla is convinced.

But Federal Aviation Administration officials say they're just as certain the fallen ice didn't come from an aircraft. They first suggested waste from migratory birds, but after learning the size of the ice, wondered whether the homeowner was the victim of a prankster.

 

The exact moment of the ice's arrival at 10:30 a.m. was unmistakable, Scarpulla said.

"When it landed, it made a terrible clatter," she said.

Her husband thought she caused the noise before realizing it had come from outside.

The couple called Elk Grove Village police. A responding officer characterized the three cracked chunks as "yellow ice," with no further explanation of what that meant, and advised her to call a roofer to make sure her home wasn't damaged, Scarpulla said.

The roofer removed the chunks from the top of the house. Seeing them up close, she described them as fragments of an icicle between 5 and 6 feet long and about 6 inches wide at the end.

Accepting that her unexpected visitor was not "blue ice" from an airplane lavatory, Scarpulla said she can think of no other explanation than that it came from the outside of an aircraft.

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There are no higher structures or tall trees in her backyard. And she agrees with the police officer's assessment that no one could have thrown the ice onto her roof from the ground. Even if that were possible, Scarpulla said she's acquired no enemies during her 40 years in the house.

But FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory said airplanes are de-iced and cannot fly with the added weight of ice. An accident is the usual result if they try.

"It doesn't sound very probable that it came from a plane," Cory said.

Scarpulla said her son added his voice to that argument, suggesting ice that heavy falling from a plane would have gone completely through her roof.

However, she said her house on Nebraska Drive is in the flight path of planes landing at O'Hare International Airport, and they're relatively low by the time they're overhead. While there was no obvious damage to the roof, Scarpulla noticed a ceiling crack about 40 inches long near her staircase that wasn't there during a recent repainting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Cory said analyzing the substances in the ice might be the only way to figure out what is and where it came from.

Scarpulla said she is keeping a sample frozen in hope of such an opportunity.

Elk Grove Village police officials could not be reached for comment Monday.

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