Crews say condos are safe after fire line break forms hole in Iona

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Jack Lowenstein
A hole that formed in Iona forced evacuations of two buildings in the Harbour Isle Estates community and caused concerns about larger damage Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. Credit: WINK News.

Hundreds of people living inside a condo complex are breathing easy after crews avoided a structural disaster. Luckily, a gaping hole that opened up near the building after a fire line break was filled.

Tuesday, a hole that formed in Iona forced evacuations of two buildings in the Harbour Isle Estates community and caused concerns about larger damage.

According to an alert sent out, workers shut off the water to repair the leak Wednesday, while part of the garage still needs to be avoided.

Inspectors and engineers deemed the power systems and structural integrity of the building safe, chalking it up to a cracked pipe near the building, not under and likely from the ground shifting.

The pipe is replaced, and the big, muddy hole is filled.

We spoke to community members Wednesday, who were thankful it was nothing more than a muddy hole in the ground.

“It was really scary because as we all remember Miami, and that was top of mind,” said resident Mary Butcher, who lived in one of the evacuated buildings. “That was the first thing so it was scary

“It was really scary yesterday because of the whole incident that happened in the East Coast,” said Christine Sastano, who was evacuated from the complex.

Joe and Christine Savastano woke up with gratitude after being forced out of their home the day prior.

“Overall, we’re feeling very blessed,” Christina said. “Actually, I feel better now knowing that inspectors looked at our buildings because I kept wondering in the back of my head after the East Coast incident, ‘Like gee, I wonder if these buildings are OK?’ Now, I know.”

“They’ve been informing us all along,” Joe said. “It’s nice that they had the inspectors come right out, and they checked it out, and the engineers reported that there’s nothing close to the foundation that we have to worry about.”

We also spoke to a geologist and asked him if the fix is going to be enough to make sure that nothing else in the area does the same thing. He said the structural integrity should be sound at this point.

“They would have looked in to see where is the damage, where is the sediment moved in the first place,” explained Dr. Joseph Van Gaalen, an FSW professor of geology. “The sand would serve to fix that purpose, right. It’s very small grain. So it’s going to fill in all of the areas where there’s voids because of the water damage. And then you lay the pipe in and then put more sand around it. So yeah, that that is a fairly stable fix.”

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.