A fire that ripped through a health and fitness center in Bay Park caused $2 million in damages and impacted several surrounding businesses.
On Friday evening, firefighters spent several hours battling a three-alarm blaze that sparked in the walls of the California Health and Fitness Center in the 3000 block of Clairemont Drive.
The business was closed for renovations when the fire began and no one was injured, but firefighters said the fire was extremely persistent and destructive.
Officials said it caused $2 million in damages to the building.
While crews were able to keep the fire contained to one building, the incident also deeply impacted surrounding businesses.
On Saturday, many of the businesses near the site of the fire were closed because they had no power, internet or phone connections.
Navid Noory, who runs the Global Course used car dealership in the area, said the temporary, unexpected closure would cause him to lose thousands of dollars.
“It can range anywhere from $5,000 to $6,000, up to $10,000 that we could lose over a weekend,” Noory told NBC 7. “I probably lost about $500 to $600 today. We have nothing; we can’t do anything as far as our business.”
Meanwhile, the building where the fire actually sparked is destroyed.
Some residents in the area consider the fitness center building a cultural landmark, and say it will be truly missed.
“It’s a feeling of loss, actually. It was a family atmosphere, when we walked into those doors after school,” said local Buz Rahe.
Fire investigators are still trying to determine what precisely caused the blaze. On Friday night, investigators said they believed the cause might be linked to the renovation work being done on the building.
Although there’s heartache now, business owners are confident that the Bay Park area will bounce back.
“It’s a can-do situation, and it will happen,” said Rahe.
Some business owners told NBC 7 that a young couple was set to re-open the renovated fitness center in about a month or so. They said the business was the couple’s “baby,” and they had been working on upgrading it for more than a year.