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Gas main break shuts down US 41, closes businesses in south Fort Myers

Posted at 11:13 AM, May 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-19 11:13:37-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A gas main break lead to evacuations and closed a portion of US 41 for hours Saturday afternoon near San Carlos Park. Officials tell fox 4 an estimated 15,000 customers might have been affected today.

“We didn’t become aware until we realized there was zero traffic going down 41,” said Chaz Fullwood, Skip One Seafoods.

The usually bustling highway was shutdown from Briarcliff Road to Alico Road after a Teco main gas supply line was broken while crews were excavating on the eastbound side of 41 near Island Park Road.

San Carlos Fire Department says gas was expelling from the line and made a noise similar to a jet engine.

Businesses in Island Park Plaza and Forest Country Club golfers were evacuated, which meant no business.

“That just closed us right up, we have a great loss today, we are losing a lot of money because of it,” said Dennis Maccagnano, Owner, The Rhythm House.

The Rhythm House had to cancel its pool tournament this morning and regulars had to push back their happy hour not opening until 3:30 Saturday afternoon.

“So we are trying to salvage what little part we can, we don’t think we’re going to have a very good night now,” said Maccagnano.

Up the road Skip One Seafoods faced a similar problem, since they also operate on gas and Saturday’s are one of its busiest days.

“It horribly impacted the business today as we basically went three hours without any traffic going by the store whatsoever,” said Fullwood.

Once the southbound lanes of 41 opened back up around 3 o’clock guests started trickling back in.

“It’s going to be a loss and hopefully somehow, someway somebody will help us make it up,” said Maccagnano.

According to Lee County Sheriff's Department, as of 3pm Saturday afternoon, northbound lanes on US 41 at Alico Road were still closed will repairs are being made.