Arson suspected in Apollo Gymnastics fire

Pinellas County, Florida -- It took 50 firefighters from 15 different units with Clearwater Fire & Rescue to put out a fire at Apollo School of Gymnastics late Saturday night.

Rob Shaw, a spokesman for the department, says a call came in at 10:12 p.m. Saturday after a Clearwater police officer who happened to be driving by the facility at 2140 Range Road saw smoke and flames. That's when firefighters were called.

Shaw says they don't know the cause of the fire yet but it's under investigation. It took 30 minutes to get the blaze under control.

The damage to Apollo is extensive and the owners are awaiting the results of the arson investigation and a meeting with insurance adjusters. Until the arson investigation is completed the Owners are unable to comment on the fire.

The owners are finalizing plans for continuing uninterrupted services for all of their classes, teams and camps.

The Apollo Class and Team programs have the week off for the 4th of July. Both programs will resume the week of July 7th in a temporary facility. Parents will be contacted individually with further information. Equipment has been arranged for continuing the programs during the clean-up and investigation.

The Apollo Summer Camp Program will continue as scheduled. A temporary facility for the Camp Program has been arranged with Countryside Christian Center.

Brian Finnegan, one of the co-owners of the school was at the scene but didn't want to speak on camera.

According to Clearwater Police, traffic around Range Road had to be redirected.

Several parents have contacted 10News about the facility to say their children are enrolled in summer camp there.

The Apollo School of Gymnastics was established in 1975 and is the oldest continually operating private gymnastics school in Florida. Apollo serves the Pinellas County area and has taught gymnastics to over 30,000 children.

Arson is suspected and The State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating. Anyone with information on the fire should call 1-877-662-7766.

We will continue to keep you up to date with more information.


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