Restoration crews, which first arrived at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) Sunday, remain on scene Monday. (Robert Bettauer/Twitter)

Restoration crews, which first arrived at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) Sunday, remain on scene Monday. (Robert Bettauer/Twitter)

Thick air may keep Saaanich’s PISE closed for longer following fires

CEO Robert Bettauer said interior air quality will determine when building re-opens

The chief executive officer of the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) says it’s realistic to expect the facility to re-open Wednesday, but also raised the possibility that the facility’s weight room might remain closed for longer.

Robert Bettauer said ideally he would re-open the facility tomorrow following an early Sunday morning fire, but it comes down to whether the air in the building will be safe to breath.

“It all comes down to the quality of the air,” he said late Monday morning.

Overall, he expects PISE to re-open sometime this week, with the building’s weight room likely opening after the building.

RELATED: Some classes cancelled today at Camosun’s Interurban campus after weekend arson

The fire that damaged PISE happened Sunday morning. Fire also damaged two buildings on the Interurban campus of Camosun College that borders PISE. A 30-year-old Victoria man remains in custody of Saanich Police following his arrest Sunday morning and faces several charges of break and enter, arson, mischief and theft.

Bettauer said it is still too early to assess the damage the fire caused to the weight room of the facility. It is not just the actual fire damage that needs to be repaired, he said. It is also the smoke damage, as well as any potential water damage to the equipment, he added.

Staff still need to check the functionality of more than two dozen pieces of workout equipment with significant electronic components before re-opening the gym, he said.

Sunday’s fires also closed two other buildings on Camosun’s Interurban campus, and Bettauer said he will be meeting with college officials later today to coordinate their response to the fires.

As for the 2,000 weekly users of PISE, Bettauer said a number of organizations have already reached out in offering help.

RELATED: UPDATE: Man arrested by Saanich Police following Camosun College fires remains in custody

The University of Victoria offered PISE users access to the university’s Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities for Monday and Tuesday. Bettauer said Saanich Recreation and Bear Mountain have also reached out in offering their facilities for PISE users.

That really speaks to the tremendous community spirit throughout the region, he said.

As for the person arrested in connection with the fires, Bettauer said he has no additional information beyond what is publicly available. That includes any knowledge about whether the person is a student at Camosun College.


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wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com