Flames rip through Greater Naples YMCA
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
NORTH NAPLES, Fla.- Flames broke out at the Greater Naples YMCA just after 3:30 Monday afternoon. YMCA President and CEO Paul Thein said a maintenance staff smelled smoke and called for help. Crews battled flames for hours, smoke could be seen from miles away.
"It is a massive fire, I wasn't expecting this. I was actually enjoying an afternoon bowling with my family when I got a call from our director of maintenance." Thein said.
Dozens of YMCA employees and visitors stood by watching as firefighters battled the blaze.
" It' is a 60 thousand square foot building that's serving the community, 6 thousand members it's devastating." Thein said.
"It is sad there are no real words for it. Sadness, this stuff isn't supposed to happen at the Y." Employee Monica Taccone said.
Because the YMCA closed early for Labor Day, the more than 230 children, 200 staff members and thousands of visitors were not put in any danger. President and CEO Paul Thein said the YMCA will rebuild but it will take a lot of support.
"The Y is about strengthening the community and this is a time where we're going to need strength from the community, so it is a little different but we've been in business 50 years, we're going to need some help and love to restore this." Thein said.
Thein said somehow, some way the Y will provide childcare services on Tuesday.
Naples fire officials said two firefighters were hurt while working to put flames out. One, injured an ankle, the other reportedly swallowed some glass.
The exact cause is still under investigation.