San Carlos Park fire plans to bill MW Horticulture for firefighting operations

Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
MW Horticulture fire (Credit: WINK News Drone)

The San Carlos Park Fire Department wants MW Horticulture to pay for damages and resources used to fight a fire that burned for more than a week in south Fort Myers.

On Wednesday, San Carlos Park fire pulled its firefighters from MW Horticulture for the first time in ten days.

The cost of the fire for the fire department hasn’t been shared, but the chief plans to send the owner a bill.

The question is if MW Horticulture will pay for it. The owner has a history of getting bills from the San Carlos Park Fire Department and never paying a dime.

San Carlos Park Fire Department’s public information officer, Alexis McClellan, is happy with the situation at MW Horticulture for now.

“We have removed that immediate threat,” said McClellan.

WINK News watched as the last San Carlos Park fire truck departed MW Horticulture.

Local business owners hope that the end is closer than it appears.

“We lost a lot of business!” said Raj Zarshay, owner of Suncoast Furniture.

The fire is finally fading and the smoke is lingering less, but at what cost?

“So next week we plan on putting together an overall cost,” said McClellan.

San Carlos Park fire had teams of firefighters working around the clock for ten days straight to knock down the fire. They don’t want the taxpayers paying for it.

The fire department wants MW Horticulture to pay for all of it. “So over the course of their notice of violations and those go back several years. We have issued eight invoices to M and W for work that was for firefighting operations conducted,” said McClellan.

If MW Horticulture decides not to pay, “We’ve issued about eight invoices up until this point totaling upwards of $36,000 and all have been unpaid up until this point,” said McClellan. “The taxpayers as a whole in San Carlos Park Fire District don’t deserve to foot the bill for that. So obviously, you know, we are asking them to pay those back invoices. And we will be asking them to pay this invoice will be issued next week as well.”

That $36,000 in past due invoices dates back to 2017.

WINK News asked MW Horticulture’s owner what her next move is. She said she’s going to hold a 50% off sale of her mulch on Friday in honor of Earth Day.

When asked if she would do an interview, she referred us to her attorney. WINK News has reached out to her attorney but has not heard back.

MW Horticulture could also receive a bill from Lee County for the water used to fight the fire.

As for how the fire department intends to make sure that the fire doesn’t get out of hand again, “Our plan is to periodically check out the site to assess where we are with those end main monitors where we are with those unmanned sprinklers and the need to have them there. We’ll definitely be looking for any hotspots going forward. And that, you know, we anticipate that to be several days to you know, a week out there,” said McClellan.

The San Carlos Park Fire District has issued MW Horticulture a stop-work order that prevents them from taking in new material. It does not prevent them from processing material that they already have.

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