Fitness studio gutted by fire days before opening

The outside of the South Auckland studio after the fire. Photo: Supplied
The outside of the South Auckland studio after the fire. Photo: Supplied

A South Auckland couple's dream of running their own fitness studio has been rocked after the building, due to open in just days, was ravaged by a fire.

One More Rep Fitness co-owners Josephine Ormsby and Issac Williams planned to open the doors this weekend to reveal years of hard work and saving.

Ormsby said the fire on Saturday afternoon allegedly started on a neighbouring property on Swaffield Rd, Papatoetoe.

The fence lit up, she said, and the wind changed, pushing it towards the brand new studio.

"My sister-in-law was sleeping in there," Ormsby said.

"She just got out in time."

There were big gas bottles along the side of the house, so she knew it could have been worse, she said.

"Things can be replaced, but she can't," she said.

"It's been a couple of days and we are in shock."

The fire tore up the side of the building, leaving behind a blackened mess.

The two bedrooms were badly damaged but the studio was relatively unscathed, she said.

They were waiting to hear more about the structural damage caused by smoke and water before they decided what to do next.

"This Saturday was going to be our big open day for everyone," she said.

"We have advertised it everywhere."

Ormsby said she was "always strong and positive" but considering everything they had worked through to create the space it was hard to feel that way now.

She has role modelled that positivity in her job helping people get into shape.

With about 15 years of experience as a personal trainer at Les Mills behind her, Ormsby helps people shed unwanted pounds, including helping one Manurewa woman lose more than 80kg.

A Givealittle page has been started to help cover the cleanup and rebuild.

A police spokesman said they were making enquiries at this stage and were working with fire safety investigators.

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