By Mike Rush
MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. (KSDK) - You go to a gym to improve your health, but some people fear their gym is dangerous to their health.
5 on Your Side's Mike Rush got answers for members mad over conditions at Blast Fitness.
A wide shot may be the kind shot for the Blast Fitness in Maryland Heights because close up members say their gym represents a Petri dish of problems.
"It's pretty gross," said one member.
"Bathroom floor got water on it," said another.
"You can smell mold and mildew," said a third.
It wasn't always that way, these members say. The sharp decline they describe, they say, happened when Blast Fitness bought out Bally's last year.
Jeff Greenburg has been a member at the gym, under a few owners, since 1977. But this is the worst he's seen.
"Multiply the worst stage previously by 10,000 and it's still worse than that," said Greenburg.
Blast didn't respond to 5 on Your Side's request for a tour, which is okay because we took uncover images and found broken, rusted out, and dirty lockers, the pool and hot tub taped off and closed down, tattered equipment and cold showers, which members Rush spoke to say is a chronic problem.
Another member complained to 5 on Your Side that when Blast abruptly closed down its Clayton location, it directed members to the Maryland Heights gym.
"Hey, people don't want to pay you money to be sitting in filth," said Greenburg.
Greenburg says he's tried to complain to the owners about the conditions.
"Six calls to corporate. Not one call returned," he said.
But Rush did get in touch with a regional manager named Ed Thompson. Thompson refused to say why the Clayton location closed, stating it was none of Rush's business.
And when Rush requested an on-camera interview about the conditions at the Maryland Heights location, Ed Thompson said, "I'm not fixin' to jeopardize my job for this."
Thompson did say the gym has passed city inspections, which Mike found out is not true. Records from the City of Maryland Heights indicate the gym has twice failed inspections to get its business license and occupancy permit, not relating to members' complaints, but for other problems, including not enough fire sprinklers in the building, exposed wiring and lack of emergency lighting. The city's policy is to allow a business to stay open as long as it appears to be making progress.
The manager tells Rush the gym will undergo some renovations, with plans to completely redo the locker room and make repairs to equipment.
Thompson says unhappy members can ask for their money back before their membership is up. It's granted on a case by case basis, he says.
One member contacted 5 on Your Side and said he was able to get a refund.