Operators of a metro-east fitness club which had its Belleville location burn to the ground Wednesday night are working on plans to serve customers who lost their gym.
The LivRite Fitness Center at 1024 Carlyle Ave. caught fire about 11 p.m. Wednesday, according to Fire Department reports. Gene Fletcher, manager of the fitness company's location at 5900 N. Illinois St. in Fairview Heights, said he hopes customers will come there until permanent arrangements can be made.
"While we're getting everything figured out, people can certainly come here," Fletcher said of the Fairview Heights location. "We're still in shock right now. But we're meeting to discuss expanding our hours here and doing whatever we need to do to take care of our customers."
Fletcher said it's too early to tell if the Belleville location will be rebuilt or relocated to another site.
People were in the Belleville building at the time the fire started. But they were evacuated safely and no injuries were reported.
A maintenance worker told firefighters at the scene that he heard a popping noise in an area where the building's electrical panel was located and he called for help. Initially, he told them he thought the noise was the sound of someone trying to break in to the business.
The gym was the subject of news coverage earlier this year when it was the site of an armed robbery in January. Two men in bandanas and black hats robbed an 80-year-old man as he left the business.
Firefighters inside the building narrowly escaped when they fled the building just before the burning roof crashed to the floor.
The cause of the blaze is being investigated.
For information about the Fairview Heights LivRite location, call 622-0900.
Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 239-2626.