O3 Sports Complex was safely evacuated after a fire Monday evening.
Saline firefighters arrived knocked down the fire about 20 minutes but spent another 60-90 minutes opening walls and ceilings to check for fire extension as smoke continued to emit from the building.
“When we got here there was heavy fire in the office. It worked its way up to a mezzanine,” Fire Chief Craig Hoeft said. “There is water damage, but we do have a cleanup crew coming immediately so it doesn’t damage the floor.”
The hardwood floor is the jewel of the 12,000-square-foot youth sports facility which opened in 2016.
“It’s sad that the rest is damaged but walls are easy to put back up, so if they can make the floor work, hopefully it will help (them re-open soon),” Hoeft said.
Todd Trese is one of the partners in the Saline 03 Sports complex. He watched helplessly as firefighters sawed into the siding to get at fire behind the walls. The resulting damage will temporarily shutter the business during a busy time of year. These days, Trese said, the business has been operating seven days a week. While at the scene of the fire, Trese also said he’d been in touch with his insurance company and the work to repair and reopen was underway.
Trese and O3 Sports received an outpouring of support on social media.
“Thanks for all the support, everyone! No one was hurt. The Saline firefighters were great,” Trese said on a Facebook post in the Saline Posts group early Tuesday morning. “We’ll work quickly to get things restored - better than new - and give all the O3 kids and coaches their home back. ... feeling grateful.”
An 03 Sports volleyball club was practicing shortly after 8 p.m.
Savannah Smith and Edith Saab were serving when they heard noise from afar.
“We heard weird noises from off in the distance, behind the curtains. Coach ran over there and she saw fire and started telling everyone,” Smith said. “So we got out of the building. Everyone was OK.”
Saab said the fire grew rapidly.
Immediately after the blaze Hoeft could not say what caused the fire.
Saline Police and Huron Valley Ambulance assisted at the scene. Woodland Drive was closed to through-traffic at one point during the fire.