Friday night fire leaves Hampshire Athletic Club closed indefinitely

  • Plywood covers the main entrance door, a window and part of the roof at Hampshire Athletic Club on Gatehouse Road in Amherst on Saturday after a two-alarm fire late Friday night. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Firefighters responded late Friday night to a two-alarm fire at the Hampshire Athletic Club in Amherst that caused significant damge to the interior of the building. SUBMITTED PHOTO/AMHERST FIRE DEPARTMENT

  • Detail of a two-alarm fire at the Hampshire Athletic Club in Amherst, Friday night. SUBMITTED PHOTO/AMHERST FIRE DEPARTMENT

Staff Writer
Published: 11/2/2019 3:05:52 PM

AMHERST — A two-alarm fire that appears to have started in the laundry room of the Hampshire Athletic Club after business hours on Friday night has left the gym closed indefinitely.

Firefighters received a 911 call at 11:03 p.m. from a person who saw smoke coming out of the gym at 90 Gatehouse Road, according to Assistant Fire Chief Lindsay Stromgren. Nine on-duty firefighters initially responded to the call as there were no other emergency calls at the time, Stromgren said.

Amherst Police were the first to arrive on the scene, followed soon after by initial fire crews who saw heavy smoke coming out from the main entrance to the three-story, wood-framed building, Stromgren said in a statement. 

The initial fire crew forced open the doors to the building, advancing a hose line into the lobby area where they discovered heavy fire, Stromgren said. As the lobby fire was extinguished, firefighters worked their way into the laundry room behind the gym’s front desk, which Stromgren said is believed to be the source of the blaze.

“It has extensive damage on the first floor, but no real structural damage,” Stromgren said. “It gutted the first floor, lobby, office and cardiovascular room.”

The roof was cut open above the fire to vent smoke and heat from the building, he said. The fire went to a second alarm, Stromgren said, which brought in fire units from Hadley, Northampton, Pelham and South Hadley, as well as ambulances from Belchertown and South County EMS. Natural gas and electricity services were shut off as crews worked on the fire.

There were no occupants in the building at the time of the fire and there were no serious injuries. A firefighter was transported to Cooley Dickinson Hospital for exhaustion, Stromgren said, but he was released an hour later.

It took about a half-hour for crews to knock down the majority of the blaze, Stromgren said, and an additional hour and a half to vent the building and control any hot spots. A crew was stationed at the site for the remainder of the night as a precaution, he said.

The Amherst town manager and building and electrical inspectors were on scene, Stromgren said, as well as fire investigators from the Amherst Fire Department and the Amherst Police Department. An investigation is ongoing, he said, and there is no current cost estimate for repairs. 

There were seven additional unrelated ambulance calls during the fire, Stromgren said, which were handled by mutual aid ambulances from Belchertown, Easthampton, Granby, Northampton, South Hadley and South County EMS.

On its website, the Hampshire Athletic Club wrote that the gym would be “closed indefinitely.” Members of the Amherst gym will be granted access to its sister business, the Northampton Athletic Club at 306 King St.

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com.


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