Businesses suffer as 56th Street remains closed due to pipeline leak

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An Indianapolis diesel pipeline leak will keep a busy stretch of road closed for a sixth straight day, and local business owners say they can’t take much more.

Marathon Pipe Line has recovered 21,000 gallons of diesel fuel since discovering the leak last Thursday, but a portion of 56th Street will remain closed as the cleanup continues on Tuesday.

Businesses in a strip mall near 56th and Guion Road have seen a big drop in customers since the leak was discovered.

Derrick Richardson, owner of D Richics Upscale Salon, said he’s spent more time taking complaint calls than cutting hair in the past five days.

“(Customers) were mad at me, and I told them it wasn’t my fault,” Richardson said.

The Marathon diesel pipeline leak forced his salon to close on Thursday. Though he reopened on Friday, very few customers found their way around the barricades.

“They saw road closed and they assumed that the road was closed, so they didn’t come through,” Richardson said.

Marathon moved the barricades during the weekend so that customers could make it into businesses like Richardson’s, but he said they continued to stay away.

“They don’t want to deal with it. They don’t want to come near 56th,” he said. “I usually average about 15 people. Today it’s the lucky guy right here. Ha, one person.”

Next door at Jiallos African & Caribbean Cuisine, business is even worse.

“It’s almost dinner time and there’s nobody here,” owner Mohammed Jiallos said. “We don’t have more than five customers all day.”

Businesses at the strip mall aren’t the only ones suffering. On the other east end of the 56th Street closure, Saddlebrook Golf Course has seen a drop in traffic. An employee said there’s been a big spike in cancellations.

Even though access is possible, none of the business owners know what to expect until the road finally reopens.

“I’ve been here five years. I never had anything like this,” Jiallos said. “I lost everything for the last five days because, you know, if you have people working for you, if you have a bill to pay, it’s a lot to handle.”

Reporter: “Are you going to be able to make it through this?”
Jiallos: “That’s what I’m praying for. I hope.”

A Marathon spokesperson tells Fox59 that the company will work with local businesses to compensate them for lost revenue as a result of the leak. That process will begin once the cleanup is complete.