No one was injured when the ice hit sometime between 8:55 and 9:15 a.m. The ice broke into pieces in the lattice work above the floor of the unoccupied Opsahl Gymnasium.
|A chunk of ice that ripped through the roof of the Drayson Center on Thursday also tore through a coating of tar paper and plywood underneath, then through a layer of insulation and the ceiling of the gymnasium.|
Maintenance workers retrieved a chunk about twice the size of a man's head, double-bagged it and stuck it in a freezer to save for Federal Aviation Administration officials.
Rolland Crawford, Loma Linda Fire Department division chief, said firefighters are not certain of the origin of the opaque white ice. University spokeswoman Julie Smith said a building repairman saw an airplane flying overhead at the time.
FAA spokesman Mike Fergus said investigators will review radar records to identify planes in the area at the time of impact. That will take at least a week, Fergus said. But the color of the ice may mean authorities will never determine where it came from, he said.
Blue ice comes from an aircraft's galley or lavatory. The source of ice of other colors can be mysterious, he said. Sometimes rime forms on the fuselage and breaks off, but that ice tends to be only 2 or 3 inches thick.
He said there have been cases in which ice fell and there were no aircraft in the vicinity. That could be naturally forming gigantic hail, Fergus said. He said the FAA follows up in such cases, but it gets a lower priority than investigations involving injuries or deaths.
Crawford said a ladder truck and three firefighters initially were dispatched to the campus. A supervisor followed and finally, both Crawford and Fire Chief Mike Norris.
"Chief Norris and I said, 'We've got to see this.' "
Crawford said the ice penetrated the sheet metal roof of the Drayson Center, went through a coating of tar paper and plywood underneath, then through a layer of insulation and the ceiling of the gymnasium. Pieces of ice lodged in the metal latticework just below the ceiling but apparently did not reach the gym floor.
"There were people outside the building who heard it," he said. "They said it sounded like an artillery shell going through the air. It was a whistling, whooshing sound."
Smith said no one was in the gym at the time.
A similar incident occurred in Fontana in August 2005, when a chunk crashed through the roof of a home in the 14000 block of Westward Drive.