Cleanup continues at downtown Fort Myers law firm after fire

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FORT MYERS, Fla.- Power was restored to businesses in downtown Fort Myers early Thursday morning after flames ripped through a law firm on Broadway Street Wednesday night.

The fire was caused by a power line that broke and hit the Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz law firm, officials said.

“I could see sparks coming from the left hand side of the law office on the roof and then I looked to the right and saw sparks coming from that side,” said Michael Tota who called 911. “The power line dropped a little bit and I saw the building catch fire on the top right hand corner.”

The flames caused considerable damage to the building. Pieces of the roof and walls were scattered all over offices inside while water also flooded the floors and work spaces.

Jeff Rice, a managing partner at the law firm, said this isn’t the first time they’ve had issues involving the power lines.

“There’s something wrong with those power lines because they blew two transformers and of course when they’re down and they hit something that conducts electricity and caused the fire, that’s what happened,” Rice said. “It’s upsetting but you know what? I thank God no one was hurt.”

The power outage affected surrounding businesses including the Hotel Indigo. Hotel guests said they were told they could stay in the hotel Wednesday night but it wouldn’t have any working air conditioning.

Samantha Lacey who lives and works downtown says the power problems are becoming more than a casual nuisance.

“Another transformer blew about six months ago downtown here and it did affect our power for about the whole day,” Lacey said. “It seems to happen a lot.”

Florida Power & Light (FPL) is investigating Wednesday’s incident.


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