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Longboat Key Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010 10 years ago

North LBK out of gas for nearly 24 hours

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Casa del Mar Beach Resort General Manager D.M. Williams realized something was wrong around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, when an employee prepared for dinner.

“He went out to get the gas grills on, but the gas lines had been cut earlier in the day,” he said.

The 106-unit resort was one of 800 addresses left without gas for nearly 24 hours Tuesday, after a contractor nicked a main gas line while installing water lines. TECO Peoples Gas officials responded to the scene and restored gas to affected businesses, then homes, by Wednesday. The incident affected all homes and businesses north of Bay Isles Road.

While installing water pipes five days earlier, workers hit a 4-inch natural gas line on Gulf of Mexico Drive just south of Longboat Key Publix, causing a gas leak. Longboat Key Police, Longboat Key Fire Rescue and Teco Peoples Gas officials responded to the scene and blocked off traffic in both lanes of the road for a stretch of about 500 yards, causing traffic to back up in both directions of Longboat Key and on Bay Isles Parkway.

Williams said he felt the town should have sent out a CodeRED alert. Longboat Key Public Works Department Director Juan Florensa said he plans to meet with TECO Peoples Gas officials next week to discuss the possibility of coordinating alerts with the company. But he said the town must use the notification system selectively.

“You tie up a lot of phone lines,” Florensa said. “You don’t want to do it willy-nilly.”

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].

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