Gymnasts Wonder What's next After Downtown Fire

Updated: 09/04/2014 11:10 PM
Created: 09/04/2014 10:41 PM
By: James Wilcox

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- One year after a fire destroyed three buildings in downtown Winona, another fire Thursday caused extensive damage to a historic building that houses a well-known gymnastics program.

"A year ago we lost 3 buildings in our downtown and again today we lost a major building," said Mayor Mark Peterson of Winona.

Thursday's fire was just two blocks away from last year's fire, and the scene was disturbingly familiar. Smoke could be seen pouring from the former YWCA building on Center Street. A place KidSport Gymnastics has called home for 14 years.

Owner Rob Murray said, "I was probably a little too heavily attached just to the old building. it's a rare spot."

Much of the older structure looks to be destroyed, but firefighters said a fire wall and fire doors appear to have kept the fire from spreading to the new part of the building, which was added in the 1980's

"That part of the building doesn't look like too much damage, and that's where most of our equipment was, so we're hoping some of that will be salvageable and will be able to resume some of our classes fairly quickly," says Brittney Steine who is a director at KidSport.

350 gymnasts from across Minnesota use the facility. Some compete at the national level.
"It's really just sad that my second home is crushed,"  said gymnast Morgan Walker.

Another fire, another change to the landscape of downtown Winona.

Mayor Peterson said, "It's hard to describe the loss. Winona's downtown is certainly a very historic downtown.  It's a very significant downtown."