Construction crews rupture gas line in Safety Harbor; businesses & customers

After a construction crew ruptured a natural gas line, many businesses and their customers in the Oakbrook Plaza at McMullen Booth and Enterprise Roads were forced to evacuate.  

After the repair, some businesses continued to be affected because power was not immediately restored.

Jordan Williams said the odor hit him hard. 

"It smelled really bad.  It smelled like rotten eggs and all kinds of stuff," he recalled.

Williams just happened to be walking by when construction crews ruptured a natural gas line.  

"He was digging a little deep and hit the gas line I guess and it went 'hissss', and I seen it all coming up," Williams recalled.

Businesses in the Oakbrook Plaza at McMullen Booth and Enterprise Roads were immediately told to get out.

"Everyone got excited, nervous at the same time and everyone evacuated," said Robbie Brum.

Brum manages the Westshore Pizza and said the timing couldn't have been worse.

"It hurts, especially on a rainy Thursday, which is one of our busier days. And we lost a good portion of our lunch revenue," Brum explained.

Although the gas leak was repaired within an hour, power to some of the businesses remained out through the afternoon.   

"Very frustrated.  Because if I don't work, I don't make money," said Michael Fata.

The chairs sat empty at Salon Savvy.  Fata's work day fell victim to the gas leak.

"I had about six chemical works on the books and I have to cancel all of them.  And so I'm losing quite a bit of money today," Fata added.

Cheryl Bucki, one of Fata's customers, didn't realize there would be no appointment until she arrived.

"I said I feel bad for you because this is probably your busiest day of the week.  But hey, that's life right," Bucki said.

"I'm losing about $500 to $600 today," Fata sighed.

All was not lost though.  One group at Westshore Pizza was lucky enough to still get some pizza slices before the 600-degree ovens cooled. 

"We still have the possibility of heating up slices of pizza and I have customers in here even though we're closed enjoying lunch," Brum said.

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