Crews tear down ice caves at Crystal Beach

The News 4 night team gathers for a final farewell photo with our friend and colleague Vic Baker!
The News 4 night team gathers for a final farewell photo with our friend and colleague Vic Baker!

FORT ERIE, ON. (WIVB) – If you were planning a trip across the border to see those unusual ice caves, you have missed your chance. Crews rolled out heavy equipment on Wednesday to knock them down.

For many who ventured out to Crystal Beach on Wednesday to see the unusual ice formations along Lake Erie, it was a disappointing sight to see emergency crews knocking them down.

PHOTO GALLERY | Find pictures of the ice caves before the demolition here

Fort Erie Fire Chief Larry Coplen explained, “Some very long cracks have appeared and people for the most part are staying out. We do have some individuals still going into them so we’re giving Mother Nature a little bit of help and knocking them down today.”

The weather has been warming, making the ice caves unstable and unsafe. Even sightseers agreed it was right to knock them down.

Ellen Butler said, “Because we were here half an hour ago and that crack between the two of them opened up about four inches just in that short time.”

Sustained winds off the lake recently shoved large pieces of ice into the shore, piling them up into caves and formations that haven’t been seen in years. Emergency crews knew this was special for people to see but their priority is safety.

Crystal Beach District Fire Chief Doug Atkins said, “Even though they’ve been asked, they’ve been warned the dangers of it, cracks have opened up, particularly in the last couple of days. We’re still seeing people going into the caves. They’re putting their children under these caves where there’s the potential of them falling down and hurting somebody.”

Hundreds of people visited over the holiday weekend but they are the lucky and the last ones to see these unusual sculptures whipped up by our unusual winter conditions.

“It’s going to fall, so he has to do it. I’m just glad I’m here to see it,” Butler said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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