Fort Myers community worried over fire hydrant availability after recent structure fire

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson
Published:

Firefighters are calling the corner of Plantation Road and Mark Lane a dangerous situation.

Earlier today, a house on Julip Court erupted in flames, and when firefighters arrived on scene to help, their only source of water was a fire hydrant nearly seven football fields away.

This distance is now worrying neighbors.

“You know, you don’t really think about it until something happens,” said neighbor Barbara Manzo.

It was Manzo’s neighbors house that went up in flames today, and now she is paying attention to where all the nearby fire hydrants are.

“We don’t have fire hydrants back here,” Manzo said. “I knew they would have to pull from a long distance.”

About a third of a mile, that’s how far this hose had to stretch to get to the nearest fire hydrant. Today’s fire reminded South Train Fire Marshall Nate Burley of what happened in this same neighborhood last year.

“We had two incidents on Scott Lane, just across the street (last year),” Burley said. “One was a fatal fire, and the other one was a complete loss. And they were in the same boat. We had the same fire hydrant that we hit today had to be used for both fires.”

The fire hydrant is on Plantation Road, outside of Gary Sawyers house. He says every time there’s a fire, there’s traffic build up. Resulting in another risk during an emergency situation.

“Kind of interesting that they can’t get in and out if there’s a fire hose running across the road,” Sawyers said.

To fix the lack of fire hydrants in this neighborhood, Burley says the residents would have to agree to pay up.

“And run the waterlines, which is not a cheap thing,” Burley said.

But, thanks to South Trail Fire District’s new higher rating, homeowners living closer to hydrants could see a drop in their monthly home insurance payments.

“There is a little bit of a cost to install these hydrants, but in doing so, you will further decrease your homeowner insurance ratings,” Burley said.

A homeowners insurance company would have to contact the fire department to get that cost.

WINK News reached out to Lee County to see how much it would cost to add more fire hydrants to the neighborhood and has not received a response.

Fire officials say just one of two more hydrants in this neighborhood would make this area much safer.

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