Ice resurfacer catching fire while just doing its job becomes latest metaphor for 2020

Fire and ice made for a frightening must-see video, but no one was hurt.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

Fire met ice when an ice resurfacing machine burst into flames at a Rochester, New York, rink after youth hockey practice on Wednesday. Why? Because it's 2020 and absolutely anything can happen. The good news? No one was hurt, though video clips shared to social media surely made it look terrifying.

"A scary moment after my son's practice tonight at (Bill Gray's Regional Iceplex)," wrote Mary Prusak on Twitter. "Grateful everyone is safe!

WHEC-TV in Rochester reports that a hose on the back of the machine started leaking hydraulic fluid, then caught on fire, but the driver was not injured and put out the flames once the machine was off the ice.

Chris Woodworth, iceplex general manager, praised the quick-thinking driver, identified only as "Jordan," and described as a longtime staff member. 

"With the safety of all in mind, and acting without hesitation, Jordan rushed the machine off the ice surface, and extinguished the flames within seconds," Woodworth told WHAM-TV. "Words cannot express the appreciation we have for Jordan, his quick thinking and heroic actions. Not all heroes wear capes, and in this instance, the hero just happened to be driving an ice resurfacer."

The startling footage inspired many social media comments, including praise for the quick-thinking driver, those who questioned whether the machine was really a Zamboni brand, those who had NHL jokes, and others who saw the fire as just one more unfathomable event in a calendar year that's full of them.

"This Zamboni catching fire at a New York hockey rink but still trying to resurface the ice is all of us trying to navigate 2020," wrote one Twitter user.

Wrote another, "For real ... did NOT have Zamboni fire on a Rochester ice rink on my 2020 bingo card."

Other weirdly apocalyptic items you may not have had on your 2020 bingo card include murder hornets, zombie cicadas and a locust-eating duck army.