I’ve held off on commenting on Saturday’s explosion in Plantation because so many outlets have communicated information; you haven’t been starved for stuff to read. Now, as we are a few days later, I’m sharing some thoughts and information.

What are your thoughts overall?

Well, I was in Jacksonville with friends when I got a text of an explosion. From the talk of the damage, I quickly planned to leave Saturday night because there would be several funerals to attend. I’m so, so grateful that we had no loss of life. I don’t know how you all feel about the world “miracle,” but to me this is our version of that airplane landing on the Hudson River. I tend to look at life through a lens of wonder and gratitude anyway, and boy, isn’t that the way most of us are thinking this week?

How will the city be affected financially?

*Minimally. Many of the police and fire that worked the scene Saturday were on duty anyway. A bill for extra staffing will be sent to the responsible party, once that is determined. From there, we would expect significant reimbursement.

* = Presuming nobody sues us.

Rescue thoughts?

Let’s not overlook that not only were the victims cared for in a timely manner, but the rescue personnel were unharmed, as well. Walking into an “active scene” where gas pockets could be still active takes more bravery than I, for example, have. But there also were people from all departments, such as parks and rec, that showed up and have been working to help people within moments of the explosion. Again, thank you to not only the first responders, but to all of our city employees. You are part of what makes Plantation special.

Proper name of the mall, please?

It’s Market on University Shopping Center. The Fountains is to the north. The Fountains suffered some damage, but almost all businesses, such as Firehouse Subs, are open. There are 19 businesses at Market on University.

 I hear a law firm held a press conference Tuesday morning. What are your thoughts?

Well, those injured have a right to be compensated and I have nothing bad to say about big law firms. I just would like to suggest that we’re a city of 100,000 or so people, and we have plenty of very good independent injury attorneys. I would rather that those injured use them. I know one attorney, for example, who exercises at that LA Fitness, buys smoothies next door and uses that dry cleaner. (Please note that is my personal opinion and not in any way affiliated with the city.)

I want to help. What can I do?

Several individuals and organizations have started fund-raising endeavors. They are to be applauded, but neither the city nor the Plantation Chamber of Commerce are equipped to handle the money part of things. The Plantation Chamber, though, is eager to place those who need employment with other businesses. Email contact info and what you can do to help to Info@PlantationChamber.org.

Any updates on help?

Yes. At the Plantation Midtown Development District Advisory Board meeting Wednesday, Chamber President Siobahn Edwards informed us that Westfield Broward Mall GM Angel Cabrera forwarded to her a list of about 50 jobs available at about 25 of his stores. She also noted that Publix, CarMax, Nova Southeastern University and others have stepped up, and The Fountains is working with displaced businesses. I personally will note that Edwards has been serving not only chamber members affected but everyone in the Market affected by the blast. Good stuff.

I heard a rumor that…

Stop right there. Not playing. Get the information from our city PIO Nancy Paul (overseen by Mayor Stoner) or Fire PIO Joel Gordon (Don Todd is the fire chief). The city is providing what updates it can while this investigation continues. As for me, I’ve asked city administration not to share things they are “working on” until they are verified. I’d rather they control the message.

This newsletter originates on NickSortal.com and is shared via various platforms. The best way to get it is to subscribe to my Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/NickSortalPlantationCityCouncil. Sharing is encouraged. My email is NSortal@Plantation.org and my phone is 954-498-5337.