Crews monitor south Fort Myers gas leak, U.S. 41 lanes closed

Crews continue to monitor a natural gas leak that occurred Saturday morning in Lee County.

According to Lee County Sheriff’s Office, all southbound lanes on U.S. 41 between Briarcliff Road and Alico Road are back open after a natural gas leak shut down traffic for several hours.

As of 11 p.m., northbound traffic on U.S. 41 continues to be shut down near the main supply line that was broken by a construction crew on the east side of U.S. 41 and Island Park Road.

Crews originally evacuated Island Park Plaza, Forest Country Club golfers and businesses across the street. And businesses have since reopened, and residents returned home after being evacuated.

San Carlos Park Fire Department was dispatched to the scene around 10:20 a.m. Crews responded to an 8-inch TECO main supply line that had been broken by a crew excavating on the east side of U.S. 41 and Island Park Road.

The main line has been capped temporarily, and crews are waiting for TECO to bring more equipment from Tampa before permanent repairs are made to the supply line.

The fire department told us the leak has the potential to affect gas customers as far south as Marco Island, affecting an estimated 15,000 customers.

Residents and people nearby the construction site heard what was believed to be an explosion; however, it was not an explosion. Instead, the sound came from the main line breaking. Gas that ran out of the line for several hours made noise the fire department described as sounding like a jet engine.

Neighbors of nearby Forest Country Club were sent an email asking residents to stay indoors, and advised all golfers come in from the course out of precaution to avoid breathing the gas.

SCPFD is on standby for fire watch in case gas ignites. No injuries have been reported at this time. Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Lee County EMS are also on scene.

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
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