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NO WATER: LaBelle shuts down city water service to repair water main break

City-wide water shutdown affects residents, businesses, and causes schools to close
Posted at 8:53 PM, Feb 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-26 20:53:21-05

LABELLE, Fla. — The sound of jackhammers and heavy machinery filled the air on the corner of Park Avenue and Bridge street in LaBelle as crews worked to repair a water main break that happened on Saturday. It led to water being shut off to the city to make the repairs, affecting people, businesses, and even shutting down schools.

Water is a necessity for so much in daily life, particularly for people like Johann Florexile, who needs water to aid in surgery recovery.

"I have an open wound that needs to be cleaned 4-6 times a day, and I'm running out of water," shared Florexile.

Florexile says the lack of water has also complicated basic functions, such as using the toilet, adding a layer of difficulty to his recovery process.

As I went over to the nearest plaza to pick up several gallons of water for Florexile, I stopped by Beef O’ Brady’s to see how they were holding up.

“We have to shut down for about five hours and send everybody home. So, all the money that we were going to make isn't going to be here today," explained Danielle Stremus, the manager of the restaurant.

The Hendry County School District announced that all LaBelle schools had to close their doors, too. They said they’ll release updates about reopening when they’re available. To make the repairs, a spokesperson with the city said they had to shut down water service to the entire city. It caused a road closure and they city says repairs would last around 5 hours. Once complete, a boil water notice goes in order.

But, despite the challenges, the people I spoke to say they’re trying to stay positive. "I'm pretty sure the city's doing everything in its power to get it restored,” said Florexile, and Stremus emphasized, “Just power through you know, if we can't get it done the typical way we'll have to improvise and get it done a different way."