SUN PHOTOS/MAGGIE FIELD
Above, crews from Florida Power & Light and the city and
county work to restore water and electricity Sunday morning
after a car hit a fire hydrant and a power pole. Below, the
top of the pole dangles from electrical lines.
HOLMES BEACH - Residents on the northern half of Anna Maria Island were greeted with a rude awakening Sunday morning - no water to make coffee and none for bathing. Worse still, some also were without power.
The cause? A 3 a.m. accident in which a Holmes Beach motorist ran over a fire hydrant and hit a power pole at 73rd Street and Gulf Drive.
Homes and businesses north of 40th Street on the Island had to endure a water outage for much of Sunday and even after the hydrant was capped, the county utilities department issued a boil notice for homeowners and businesses, warning them to bring any water to be consumed to a boil for at least a minute to kill any germs. The county was worried that the integrity of the drinking water supply to the northern half of the Island might have been breached.
Restaurants were hard hit by the lack of water, especially since food preparers were unable to wash their hands or their work areas and utensils. In addition, toilets were rendered unusable after the first flush until water service was resumed.
As a result of the vehicle hitting the electrical pole, power to nearby homes also was lost for a while.
At the accident site, water spewed from what was left of the fire hydrant into the air, hitting electrical wires that threw sparks.
Bond left the scene of the accident, but showed up at the Holmes Beach police station around 1 p.m., looking for his car. He claimed he had fallen asleep while driving and left the scene of the accident after it happened because he had become confused.
Bond received a ticket for careless driving and another for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. The cost of the fire hydrant was estimated at $5,000 and the damage to the utility pole is estimated at $10,000. In addition, Bond ran down two mailboxes that were estimated to cost $100, according to a police report. Stephenson said the expense of replacing everything would have to be paid by Bond, or his insurance company.
"The damage will probably total around $35,000," he said. "In my 24 years on the force, this is the worst water outage I have ever seen as the result of an auto accident."