Display car alleged to have fuelled Riverside fire

Mini parked in club could compromise insurance claim

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Scene of total devastation at what used to be the Riverside Health Club

Riverside Club destroyed by fire

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As investigations into the cause of the blaze that hit the Riverside Health Club continue, attention is being focused on a car that was on display in the club as part of a promotion.

The fire which completely destroyed the club last week is believed to have started in the ladies' toilets. However, the sheer scale of fire and the devastation it caused may have been because of a Mini Cooper which was on show in the club's atrium at the time. 

Health and Safety regulations make certain provisions for the display of motor vehicles in enclosed public areas including the amount of petrol that can be stored in the tank. If these were not adhered to, then the club's insurers may have grounds to reject their claim. We have contacted Esporta to ask for a comment on this matter but have yet to receive a reply.

Staff of the Riverside Club were alerted to the fire at 2.45am on Friday 31st March by their cleaners.  Unfortunately, by the time the fire engines arrived, most of the facilities had been burnt to the ground.  The majority of the club's buildings - including indoor tennis courts, pool areas, changing areas, reception and cafe areas - were gutted.

Whilst investigations into the incident continue, Esporta's Chief Executive, Neil Gillis has written to Riverside members. 

Mr Gillis states that company, which is currently discussing the implications of the fire with their insurers, intend to rebuild the club as soon as possible and that dialogue has already begun to that effect with the relevant planning authorities. 

The idea is to rebuild the club in an identical footprint therefore accelerating the planning process and it is hoped have the the club reopen within just 12 months. Membership suspensions have been offered to all members but complete cancellation comes with the warning that joining fees will be applicable should that member wish to rejoin once the club is operational again.

Riverside General Managers Simon and Gina Miller will continue to be employed throughout the rebuilding process and will be holding a series of drop in sessions at Esporta Chiswick Park to discuss Riverside members' issues and concerns.

April 9, 2006