Sanger fitness club finesses new gym site

Peaches & Queens works out fundraiser to help get the gym back on its feet at new location following a recent fire

(Kenny Goodman)
(Kenny Goodman)
Darren Fraser
Published February 16, 2024  • 
10:00 am

SANGER –  To help raise money for the Peaches & Queens Training Center, which has been closed thanks to a recent morning fire, a fundraiser to help the gym get back into action is coming to the House of Pendragon Brewing Company in Sanger.

The fundraiser is set for March 2. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward outfitting the new gym at its new location at 728 N. Street – a location Peaches & Queens owner Vanessa Ramirez found within days of the fire.

“I did find a location quickly. It’ll still be a week or so until I’m able to utilize the space,” said Ramirez. The space is currently occupied by Sluggers Cage.

As for how Ramirez came upon the space, she explained one of her coaches mentioned the space would be up for lease.

“Her mom knows the landlord and was notified about the space. I jumped on the opportunity,” she said.

The Peaches & Queens Training Center fire occurred early in the morning on Feb. 9. It started in the attic in the front of the building and moved to the roof. The Sanger Fire Department, assisted by the Reedley Fire Department and Cal Fire Fresno, were able to knock down the fire without too much difficulty. But the location of the fire – the attic – meant that water, insulation and other materials rained down on the gym floor, causing extensive damage.

“The insurance is going to clean up the building and I’m hoping some of the equipment in the garage of the gym is able to be saved,” Ramirez said. “The entire building smells like smoke, including all of my belongings. If they can remove the smell from some of my equipment, I would be able to make use of it. Everything in the front was a total loss for my gym.”

The smell of smoke remains pungent at 719 Academy Avenue. Chunks of ceiling and insulation and other materials cover most of the floor and the equipment that was not salvaged.

Peaches & Queens boasts about 160 members. These women obviously hold Ramirez dear in their hearts. Three days after the fire, a member allowed Ramirez to use her backyard and outbuilding for classes. Videos posted on the Peaches & Queens Facebook page show Ramirez and her Queens working out with equipment salvaged from the fire.

On Feb. 14, in a post, Peaches & gym member Neida Gomez explained what Ramirez means to the members and the community.

“How Vanessa touches the lives of so many people is beyond me but she does,” Gomez wrote. “Peaches & Queens isn’t just a fitness center, but an outlet for us to get stronger physically and mentally. Vanessa helped a lot of us get through difficult times in our lives and now it’s our turn to help her get through this. Her journey does not end here.”

Ramirez is appreciative of the help she has received.

“The help I’ve received has been through my clients and the community. I hope the fundraiser we are holding will help us get back on our feet soon,” she said.

CHRONOLOGY

Ramirez’s Facebook posts provide an almost real-time chronology of events that have transpired since Feb. 9.

At 4:23 a.m. on Feb. 9 – just over two hours after the fire began – Ramirez posted on the gym’s page that the gym would be closed until further notice.

“Praying we are able to go back in soon,” Ramirez wrote.

At 5:13 p.m. that day, Ramirez posted, “Hey, Queens, we are working hard on getting a temporary location to resume classes. I’ve always said, ‘Where there is a will, there is a way.’”

On Feb. 11, Ramirez posted, “We will resume classes Tuesday but we will hold 5/6 a.m. & 6/7 p.m. classes out of a new location.”

The new location was the client’s backyard.

Ramirez acknowledged the hardship the fire caused and her struggles trying to figure out her next step. But she added, “We are not giving up though.”

On Feb. 12 at 8:33 p.m., she posted the address of the temporary location but added, “We have found a permanent home here in Sanger but it will be ready in 2-3 weeks.”

That same night, at 8:51 p.m., Ramirez posted a flier about the March 2 fundraiser. She also provided the address for the new location.

The following day, at 7 a.m., Ramirez posted again, reminding gym members that classes will continue at the temporary location.

The Feb. 13 and 14 posts are videos. They show about 20 women lifting dumbbells, exercising, stretching and performing calisthenics as coaches cheer them on.

Darren Fraser
Reporter