A vehicle crashed into Aloha Fitness Club in Hilo on Friday and burst into flames. A worker from a nearby business quickly put the flames out, preventing anyone from being injured.
As that was happening, just after lunchtime, trainers evacuated club members from the gym, located on Railroad Avenue.
Aloha Fitness owner Tunya Sytsma said a worker from Bacon Universal, which owns the building Aloha Fitness is in, saw smoke coming from the gym, ran around to the entrance, went inside, asked for a fire extinguisher, saw it hanging on the wall, grabbed it and put the fire out.
“I’m so happy that it was right there by the door so he could grab it and go,” Sytsma said.
A police detective at the scene said the act of driving into the building was allegedly intentional — but he wasn’t able to provide more information because it was still early in the investigation.
“Due to toxic fumes, the gym … will be closed for the rest of the day,” Aloha Fitness said in a Friday social media post to members.
The fire was contained to the vehicle, according to the gym. However, structural damage was done to “The Dungeon and The Brave Fitness side,” the gym told its members.
Sytsma said The Dungeon is a class she conducts, and trainers conduct The Brave Fitness course, both of which meet in the same area of the gym.
A man who drove the vehicle was arrested, the detective said.
Sytsma said the gym will reassess the fumes situation this morning to decide whether to open for the weekend.
She said she feels awful for a coach whose batting studio for youngsters was at the spot with the greatest damage. But she expressed gratitude that no keiki were in the building at the time of the crash.
Email Jeff Hansel at firstname.lastname@example.org.