Tuesday, April 03, 2001

Fire causes $100,000 in damage to fitness club

By David Eck
Enquirer Contributor

        WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP — As he watched black smoke billow from the roof of The Court Yard Sportsplex Monday morning, general manager Jim Barber said he was grateful no one was injured.

        About seven people in the Kingsgate Drive fitness club escaped without injury when a blaze broke out near a racquetball court just before 7:30 a.m. Monday.

        The club has 1,200 members, Mr. Barber said.

        Officials estimated fire and smoke damage to the 60,000-square-foot structure at $100,000.

        A decade ago, a tornado in the Kingsgate area caused about $200,000 in damage to the west side of the club, Mr. Barber said.

        On Monday, firefighters from Mason, and West Chester and Liberty townships battled the smoky, stubborn blaze for about three hours.

        The cause remains under investigation, but the fire is not considered suspicious, West Chester Township Assistant Fire Chief Mike Mays said.

        Firefighters had to work from extension ladders inside the building because of the height of the racquetball courts, which were the most heavily damaged areas, Assistant Chief Mays said.

        “It's a stubborn fire,” he said. “It's just difficult to get to.”

        The tan-and-white building dominates the Tylersville Road interchange with Interstate 75 and can be seen for miles along the interstate.

        Mr. Barber said he did not know how long the club will be closed.


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