the Cow Island iguana is safe from fire; the owners agree to rebuild the restaurant


Yes, iguanas are safe.

Saturday Night Fire at Popular Sanibel Island island cow restaurant has caused significant damage to the restaurant and has closed it for the time being.

But owners Brian and Elke Podlasek made sure those who asked about the two spiny lizards in the colorful cow-decorated restaurant knew the reptiles were safe.

“Update,” said a note on the restaurant’s social media pages. “Thank you for your concerns. None of our iguanas were harmed. They will enjoy a stay in Sanibel until we rebuild.”

Restaurant destroyed:Fire damages The Island Cow restaurant

The Island Cow restaurant in Sanibel was badly damaged by fire Saturday night.  The Sanibel Fire Department is investigating.

And, for the literal hundreds who posted their condolences and best wishes on social media for The Island Cow’s future, that final sentence is what’s important: “until we rebuild.”

“I’m glad to hear they’re okay! I was really worried about them,” said Heather Alexander of Enchanted Visions Photography in Cape Coral. She and her husband, James, visited The Island Cow around Father’s Day and she took a picture of the lizards.

“Fingers crossed that owners can rebuild and recover quickly,” she said in an email.

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The Podlaseks’ initial statement also suggested that the fire would only be a temporary inconvenience to the operation they have been running for more than 15 years:

“The Island Cow is currently closed following a fire that broke out in our kitchen after we closed for the evening. Thankfully no one was injured, and we are committed to renovating and reopening as soon as possible. On behalf of our Island Cow family, we would like to thank everyone for their continued support while we temporarily close for repairs.”

There’s no word yet from the owners – Brian Podlasek told The News-Press on Sunday that “I have a lot to do” – on how long it might take.

An update on the fire from Sanibel Fire and Rescue District Chief William Briscoe said:

“The Island Cow is closed due to extensive fire damage. Residents and visitors are encouraged to avoid the building and exercise caution in the area. Island Cow has been a staple restaurant for residents and visitors. It is a sad day to see such a landmark destroyed by fire. Our firefighters did everything we could to save the building, but we are grateful that no one was inside the building and that all resources on site have safely extinguished the flames.I would also like to personally thank all local resources who arrived on scene to assist with this fire.

The district said the fire is still under investigation.

Bayshore Fire Protection & Rescue Serv. District, Bonita Springs Fire Control & Rescue District, Captiva Fire Control and Rescue District, Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District, Iona McGregor Fire District, Sanibel Police Department and South Trail Fire Protection & Rescue Service District.

Connect with breaking news reporter Michael Braun: MichaelBraunNP (Facebook), @MichaelBraunNP (Twitter) or [email protected]


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