A day after a Portland man’s car was demolished by keg-sized chunks of ice as it sat parked in the Old Port, city officials are reminding property owners that it is their responsibility to eliminate dangerous icicles and ice dams or face fines.

Fire Department spokesman Tim Nangle said Monday that residents should alert the city when they see hazardous ice buildup on buildings.

“It’s a dangerous situation,” he said of the hazard posed by heavy chunks of ice that could seriously injure a pedestrian. “It’s not something we would want anyone to go through.”

The issue was thrust into the spotlight Sunday when the front and rear windows of Adam Sousa’s 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier were destroyed by chunks of ice that fell off the four-story building at the corner of Fore and Exchange streets.

Sousa had parked his car Sunday morning on Exchange Street, and when he returned for it that afternoon he found the huge chunks of ice protruding through the windshield and others in the car itself. Sousa said he does not have comprehensive insurance for the car.

The building’s owner, Joseph Soley, could not be reached for comment Monday.

Portland requires commercial property owners to remove accumulations of snow and ice that pose a threat of falling on streets or sidewalks.

An ordinance says the removal should begin whenever a threatening condition occurs or within four hours of the owner being notified by the city’s inspections division.

“Whenever snow or ice accumulates in such a manner as to hang over a street or sidewalk, such a condition shall constitute … evidence that the condition is a threatening condition … and not subject to challenge or appeal until after the building owner has removed the snow or ice,” the ordinance says.

The city can assess a $250 penalty for failing to remove threatening snow or ice, plus the payment of any legal costs the city incurs. The city can have the snow or ice removed and charge the property owner, plus a 10 percent administrative charge.

If the city has had to clear the snow or ice, or if a building owner has received three or more notices in 18 months, the city can require the owner to install roof guards. Roof guards are attached near the edge of a building’s roof to prevent snow and ice from sliding off. Some communities elsewhere in the Northeast require them on certain commercial buildings, but Portland does not unless there’s a problem.

On Monday afternoon, there was no noticeable snow or ice removal at 1 Exchange St., the building from which the ice appears to have fallen Sunday. There were still large icicles hanging from several windows, and a shelf of snow and ice at the top of the building that has slid partway off the edge. Some of that ledge appears to have broken off roughly above where Sousa’s car was hit.

The city’s inspection division has been in contact with the building’s owner, Nangle said. “They’re making attempts to work with” him, he said.

The city is asking residents to use the “Fix It Portland” form on the city’s webpage – portlandmaine.gov – to report large icicles and other potentially dangerous conditions. Nangle also urged pedestrians to comply with barricades that are blocking dangerous sections of sidewalk.

It’s unclear whether a property owner can be held legally responsible for the damage caused by ice falling from his building.

“I don’t know whether you could sue or not,” said Jeanne Salvatore, spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, a nonprofit based in New York City. “There is sort of basic common sense with insurance, which dictates you need to take reasonable steps so that things are safe. … Obviously, these are your customers. You don’t want anything to happen to them.”

Owners should keep sidewalks clear, and make sure handrails are in good repair. Sometimes there are limits to what a property owner can do, in which case warning signs may be appropriate, Salvatore said.

“It’s the right thing to do but it’s also important from an insurance perspective,” she said.

Incidents of falling ice hitting people or cars appear to be rare in Portland.

Police take casualty reports whenever a person is injured on a city sidewalk – for example, by slipping and falling, or by falling ice – or property such as a car is significantly damaged. Officers have taken 118 casualty reports since Jan. 1 and none of them – until Sousa – involved falling ice.

The city has received 203 complaints since mid-January related to sidewalk safety – everything from property owners not clearing snow to falling ice – but the city was unable Monday to provide a breakdown of how many were snow on the sidewalk and how many were dangerously hanging ice, Nangle said.

Mike Brown, assistant director of facilities and safety coordinator for Cumberland County government, said this year’s weather has left the county courthouse – perennially a problem spot for falling ice – almost clear.

“We got lucky. It all depends which way the wind blows,” he said. Wind off the ocean can cause snow to drift and stick on the roof, and when it warms up, it falls from the building’s parapets. This year the snow was light and very cold, so it didn’t stick, and strong winds from the north kept the roof clear, Brown said.

Older buildings with less insulation are more prone to having snow melt, then freeze into large ice dams. Brown said a four-year roof project, completed this year, included better insulation which also may have helped keep down ice and snow accumulation.

The worst conditions for buildup on the roof occur with the kind of snow that came in Saturday night.

“When it’s at or near that freezing point, that perfect snowball, snowman snow, and the winds are relatively mild, it will pile up onto that roof,” Brown said.

He said property managers who waited until now to secure snow removal services will likely be in a jam.

“You don’t want to be looking for these guys the day you need ice removed, because if they’re safe and qualified, they’re already working,” he said.