Manitoba

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

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

No one injured in Sunday morning blaze

Valentine's Fitness and Weight Loss Centre owner Valentine Payne says his gym could be closed for a month after a fire Sunday. (Travis Golby/CBC)

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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With files from Sarah Petz

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