The “ice car” is free.
Three days after Justin Yelen left his car outside Hoak’s Restaurant on Route 5 in Hamburg – and returned to find it encased in solid ice – a crew excavated it from its frozen berth.
Powerful winds buffeted the lakeshore Sunday night, and waves crashed into Hoak’s parking lot. At the same time, the temperatures plummeted. The result: Yelen’s glazed in thick ice.
The “ice car” quickly became a social media darling, complete with its own Twitter handle. Photoshopped images circulated on Facebook and Twitter of Disney princess Elsa from “Frozen” next to the car, along with cartoon dragons breathing fire and videos of flamethrowers as suggestions on how Yelen might thaw his car.
Lookie-loos and national media alike converged on the scene to snap selfies and do live stand-ups in front of the frozen phenom.
A Hamburg towing company had the honor Wednesday of dislodging the Mitsubishi Lancer from the ice and a crew from the Weather Channel was on the scene from 9 a.m. to capture the moment.
It took about 10 to 12 minutes to dislodge the vehicle from its frozen trap, said Lenny Iwanenko, president of Lake Erie Towing & Recovery, located on Southwestern Boulevard in Hamburg.
The crew used flakes of calcium to melt the ice, mainly around the tires and wheel areas of the vehicle. Calcium has the same effect as rock salt, but without the corrosive effects, Iwanenko said.
The workers couldn’t resist posing with the “ice car” after they got it onto a flatbed and hauled to West Herr Collision Center in Hamburg.
“I’ve been in business 28 years, never seen anything like this,” Iwanenko said. “This is amazing.”
Weather Channel reporter Mike Seidel said it made for great TV.
“We broadcast the whole thing live on the Weather Channel,” the Atlanta-based broadcaster said.
“I’ve seen houses encased in ice,” he said. “I remember a storm we covered up near Plymouth, Mass., but I’ve never seen a car in person encased in ice like this.”
Up close and personal with the shell of the "ice car" pic.twitter.com/zqa9PYBMfG
— Aaron Besecker (@AaronBesecker) January 13, 2016
— West Herr Auto Group (@WestHerr) January 14, 2016