BRICK, NJ -- Work Out World owner Stephen P. Roma says he’s fortunate that a fire last month in his corporate club in Brick, NJ, did not significantly slow down his company’s operations.
The fire started in the women’s sauna of the 30,000-square-foot club on July 26. Although there were some members working out in the club at the time of the afternoon fire, nobody was in the sauna at the time of the fire, and everybody was evacuated safely from the club, Roma says.
“It’s a wooden room, so everything was very combustible,” Roma says.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, says Roma, who adds that the cost of the damage as a result of the fire is also unknown. It may take up to three or four months before the club is back in operation, he says.
The 3,500 members at the Brick Work Out World location are allowed to work out at any of the nine other Work Out World clubs in central New Jersey free of charge. Those members were not charged for August dues, says Roma, who also pays a monthly fee to neighboring competitor clubs so that Brick Work Out World members can exercise there at no cost.
The company’s operations center, consisting of the accounting and customer service departments, has been temporarily moved to the club’s group fitness studio, which sustained only minor smoke damage. The studio is located on the other side of the L-shaped club from where the fire started. Temporary cables were installed to connect the makeshift operations center to where the company’s two T1 lines for phone and Internet connections are located. Just a few days after the fire, the makeshift operations center was functioning, Roma says.
Insurance covers the cost of the tables, office chairs, temporary signage, cleaning and other expenses caused by the fire, Roma says
“What’s not covered is the stress level,” he adds.
The company’s membership files consisting of more than 350,000 sheets of paper sustained smoke and water damage. Roma had planned to scan the files digitally by the end of the summer, but now those efforts have been expedited because of the fire. The files were put in an off-site facility and were frozen before going into an ozone room in order to rid the files of contamination.
“It does give us the opportunity to get everything scanned in and stay current with it—350,000-plus pieces of paper is a daunting task,” Roma says. “The good news is we’re getting the documents scanned. The bad news is we had the fire.”