WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Volunteers have rallied around a Wichita gym that was the site of a fire on Saturday morning.
On Monday, dozens of people, some as far away as Dodge City, showed up at Northside Boxing Academy to help crews clean up debris.
“Try and rebuild. That’s all we can do right now,” said Northside Boxing Academy Manager Emiliano Hernandez.
The gym has been home to Olympic bronze medalist and now pro boxer Nico Hernandez for nine years.
“It’s a good feeling, knowing you have got so much support and the community is wanting to help out, your family, your friends, everybody,” said Olympian Nico Hernandez.
Nico got a call from a friend saying the gym was engulfed in flames around 5 a.m. Saturday.
“I really didn’t know what to think,” Nico said. “Everyone in the gym is devastated by it. It’s a not a good feeling at all.”
There is hope for the gym and its members. While a majority of the weights and training equipment were burnt to a crisp, the first ring Nico ever trained it was left untouched. The flames also missed Nico’s boxing gloves that were hanging from the ceiling and a golden gloves trophy.
“Actually, the firemen when they came in, they said they seen that big trophy and got that out as soon as possible and they said for some reason they thought that was important to us,” said Emiliano.
He said he’s thankful for the community’s support and he is hopeful for the future.
“We will make it some how, some way. I know there are good people out there,” said Emiliano.
The gym is closed for the remainder of the week while members continue to clean up and assess the damage.
Emiliano said his goal is to have half of the gym open by next week, so athletes can continue to train.
He is asking anyone who wants to help with the recovery efforts to come to the gym located at 1901 North Market Street at 9 a.m. every day this week.