‘People come here to heal’: Gym owner worries for clients after fire

By | February 10, 2019

The owner of a Winnipeg gym says he’s more worried for his clients than his business after a fire tore through the fitness facility Sunday morning.

Fire crews were called to Valentine’s Fitness and Weight Loss Centre on Portage Avenue and Lenore Street just before 8 a.m.

Owner Valentine Payne tells CBC fire investigators told him the blaze was likely caused by a malfunctioning fan in the men’s change room.

“It started the fire and spread through the gym,” he said later in the day Sunday.

“There’s a pool of water all throughout the gym, so I have to first drain it out before I can really assess the damage.”

Payne says investigators have told him the fire was likely caused by a malfunctioning fan in the men’s change room. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Payne says the business, which he opened four years ago, could be closed for a month while the space gets cleaned up.

He’s worried that will be hard on his clients.

“Right now I have over 80 clients that come here on a daily basis and I’m putting on a weight loss challenge,” he said.

“So it’s not me that I’m worried about so much, because it’s a weight loss clinic — people come here to heal and get well.”

Payne says fire crews told him a pipe burst during the fire, which likely helped save the business from further damage.

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