Rest easy, The Island Cow's iguanas are safe ... and the restaurant will be rebuilt

·3 min read
A note on the social media pages for Sanibel Island's The Island Cow, which was damaged by fire Saturday, said. "Thank you for your concerns. None of our iguanas were harmed. They will be enjoying a Sanibel staycation until we rebuild."
A note on the social media pages for Sanibel Island's The Island Cow, which was damaged by fire Saturday, said. "Thank you for your concerns. None of our iguanas were harmed. They will be enjoying a Sanibel staycation until we rebuild."

Yes, the iguanas are safe.

Saturday night's fire at Sanibel Island's popular Island Cow restaurant caused significant damage to the eatery and shut it down for the time being.

But owners Brian and Elke Podlasek made sure those who were asking about the two spiky lizards at the colorful restaurant featuring cow decor knew the reptiles were safe.

"Update," a note on the restaurant's social media pages said. "Thank you for your concerns. None of our iguanas were harmed. They will be enjoying a Sanibel staycation until we rebuild."

Restaurant destroyed: Fire damages The Island Cow restaurant

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

And, for the literal hundreds who posted condolences and best wishes on social media for The Island Cow's future, that end phrase is what's important: "until we rebuild."

"I’m thrilled to know they are ok! 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 grabbed a photo of the lizards.

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

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The Podlaseks' initial statement also suggested that the fire will only be a temporary inconvenience for the operation they've run for more than 15 years:

"The Island Cow is currently closed following a fire that started in our kitchen after we had closed for the evening. Thankfully, no one was injured, and we are committed to renovating and reopening as quickly as possible. On behalf of our Island Cow family, we want to thank everyone for their ongoing support while we close temporarily for repairs."

There is no word yet from the owners — Brian Podlasek said in a text to The News-Press on Sunday that "I have a lot to do" — on how long it might take.

An update on the fire from William Briscoe, chief at Sanibel Fire and Rescue District, said:

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

The district said the fire remains under investigation.

Assisting with the fire was 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 mbraun@news-press.com. 

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Island Cow's iguana's safe from fire; owners pledge to rebuild eatery