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Skate World

Skate World

Metal work on the exterior of the Skate World roller skating rink building appears to be the cause of a major fire at the longtime Kernersville business on Sunday, July 31, with fire officials saying the blaze was sparked accidentally and unintentionally.
“The fire started in the front area of the building where they were doing some work on the exterior,” said Kernersville Assistant Fire Marshal Austin Flynt on Monday morning. “Damage was pretty extensive to the interior of the building.”
Flynt said the Kernersville Fire Rescue Department (KFRD) received the first call about a commercial building fire at the 1995 West Mountain Street location at the Hopkins Road intersection at 12:24 p.m., when a passerby noticed smoke coming from the roof of the Skate World building.
According to Flynt, the first KFRD engine arrived within a couple minutes to find a working fire on site.
Not long after, the fire was brought to a second alarm incident, adding multiple agencies to assist, Flynt continued. He noted that all personnel who were on site at the time of the incident successfully evacuated.
Fire crews promptly began fire suppression measures, bringing the fire under control at 2:18 p.m. There were no reported injuries to emergency services personnel or civilians, Flynt said.
Flynt said damage to the interior of the building was extensive, with most of the flames confined inside. He estimated that 60 percent of the inside of the popular roller skating rink was destroyed by fire. Damage has been estimated at $250,000, Flynt said.
Kernersville residents posted photos and comments about the fire on social media throughout the afternoon and evening on Sunday. Hundreds expressed their sadness at seeing such an iconic local business, which was established by the late Robert Blakely in 1972, suffer such damage. Blakely’s family has operated the business for the past decade, noted son Michael Blakely’s obituary last October.
The younger Blakely’s widow, Lisa, posted a message on behalf of her and the couple’s son, Brandon, on the Skate World page on Facebook Sunday night.
“I figured you all were waiting to hear from me …. as you all have heard Skate World caught on fire today. It was a phone call that you never expect or want to get. My heart is broken all over again. First the devastation of losing the love of my life, now this. The thing I hear him saying in my ear, is Lisa, it’s just a material thing, that you’re blessed no one was hurt, so be grateful for that and that, I am. No one was in the building at the time and no fire fighter was injured and for that I thank GOD,” Lisa Blakely wrote. “This place holds such dear memories for me and Michael as we met there 40 years ago and to work the rink together with our son Brandon over the past several years, special times. I know this place means as much to you, the kids we [who] skate and all the community. This place is a LANDMARK!”
She continued.
“There was extensive damage done to the inside of the building. For now we are going to let the Fire Marshal and the Insurance Adjuster do their jobs. We will be closed for a while as it will take a lot of work to get all the renovations done and back open. I ask that you please follow us on Face Book and watch for more details and updates. I will keep you informed. If you hear it straight from me, then you know it’s true and not a rumor.
“I want to personally thank all the Kernersville Rescue and Fire Fighters that worked so hard today through the heat and smoke. You did a GREAT JOB!! Also to my FAMILY for their love and support and YOU my extended family, the SKATE WORLD FAMILY. WE WILL BE BACK. MY Love to you all and GOD BLESS.”
Flynt said there were a total of 64 firefighters and emergency services personnel and 24 emergency apparatus on scene throughout the incident.
Agencies assisting the KFRD included the Forsyth County Fire Department, Piney Grove Fire and Rescue, Winston-Salem Fire Department, Walkertown Fire Department, Beeson Crossroads Fire Department, Kernersville Police Department, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and Forsyth County Emergency Medical Services.
For more photos, see page 6.

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