Fire guts Richmond gym
The building may look in tact from the outside, but millions of dollars in damage was done to the internals of this Richmond gym when a fire broke out early Friday.PT0M47S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2fa85 620 349 March 1, 2013
Fire investigators will probe the cause of a blaze that caused millions of dollars worth of damage at a gym in Richmond.
The Metropolitan Fire Brigade controlled the fire about 6.05am on Friday, two hours after being called to the corner of Church Street and Tweedie Place.
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Firefighters mop up after extinguishing the fire. Photo: Justin McManus
The owner of the gym, ESS Performance, said cutting edge gym equipment that had been used by AFL, NRL and A-League clubs had been destroyed.
Owner and chief executive officer David Armstrong said he heard the fire alarm from his nearby house and rushed outside to see the gym engulfed in flames. Only the shell of the building remains.
"Obviously it's shocking to know all the hard work we've done over such a long period is gone," he said.
Smoke plumes seen from the gym in the early morning. Photo: Andrew Picker
"We're just going to have to do what we can to get it back to the way we can, but the intellectual property stored in the computers and stuff like that – that's the stuff I'm worried we won't get back."
While high profile athletes had regularly used the gym, Mr Armstrong said he was more concerned for those developing athletes who were now left with nowhere to train.
The gym featured anti-gravity treadmills, ice baths and saunas, among a sports medicine clinic and other standard gym equipment.
It was used by the England cricket team during the last Ashes tour and includes sports medicine consulting, anti-gravity training, altitude training and infra-red sauna therapy.
It was due to open at 6.30am on Friday, but Mr Armstrong was instead instructing his staff to call those with appointments and tell them about the fire.
The gym was insured and he hoped it could be operating again soon.
The MFB said the 50-metre by 30-metre single storey gym was severely damaged at the rear, where the fire appeared to have started in an office.
MFB commander Brad Quinn said nothing indicated the fire was deliberately lit.
Nobody was injured in the blaze, but Mr Quinn said firefighters did get pushed back at one stage by the ferocity of the flames. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus contained the fire. More than 50 firefighters battled the flames.
Church Street was closed between Highett and Buckingham streets, but reopened about 8am. Traffic and tram diversions are in place.