Warehouse goes from blazing inferno to 'ice castle'

Remarkable images have emerged after firefighters in Chicago battled to control a massive blaze – only to see water from their hoses turn to ice.

Warehouse goes from blazing inferno to 'ice castle'

Warehouse goes from blazing inferno to 'ice castle'

The American city is currently gripped by its coldest winter in years, which caused huge problems when an unused warehouse went up in flames.

As firefighters battled the massive blaze, their water turned to ice and encased the building and surrounding vehicles in what was described as an ‘ice castle’.

With the building unstable, firefighters had to tackle the blaze from the outside and so much water was used witnesses described snow falling around the blaze.

“When they were throwing the water on the fire, it could have caused water vapor to go up and form a cloud," meteorologist Kevin Birk told the Chicago Tribune.

“And, since it was so cold, it created ice crystals that become heavy enough to fall as snow."

The water on the ground quickly turned to ice with wind chill lows of up to -20 and John McNicholas, the Fire Department's deputy commissioner of operations, said: “It's safe to say we had about 8 inches of ice in the front of the building. And then of course the building itself probably had a coating of 3 or 4 inches of ice on it.

“Some described it as a very large ice castle."

Surrounding vehicles were also covered with thick ice. Pic: Reuters

The bitterly cold wind chill factor turned water from hoses into ice Pic: Reuters

One third of Chicago's firefighters were called to the scene. Photo: Reuters