EASTHAM —Willy’s World Wellness and Conference Center on Route 6 was temporarily shut down on Dec. 12 after Eastham Building Commissioner Thomas Wingard found the facility “unsafe.”
Wingard’s notice, posted outside the gym, reads: “The structure has been inspected and is unsafe to occupy as described below: life safety concerns, numerous violations, including work without permits, failure to maintain equipment, etc.”
Wingard declined this week to go into detail about the violations he found.
Barbara Niggel, owner of Willy’s, said the facility experienced a “fire event” and she is doing what is necessary to reopen. She did not say when that would happen.
“We’re replacing the fire suppression system,” Niggel said. “That was what was damaged in the fire event.”
Wingard said a Chapter 34 building analysis of the facility is required. That means the entire building must be evaluated to ensure safety.
“The systems are so non-functioning that it is beyond my scope to determine the needs,” Wingard said. “An architect or engineer needs to inspect the situation.”
The analysis is a standard requirement for new buildings or businesses. It is also required for existing buildings after a fire.
A regular Willy’s visitor who was at the fitness center on Dec. 12 told the Independent, “I was on one of the elliptical machines — there was a repair guy working on a socket across from the machine I was on. Whatever he was doing was causing electrical sparks to fly.” The visitor, who declined to give her name, said the same thing happened when the worker moved to a different electrical socket.
Niggel said the gym had been working since March 2018 on connecting to town water and connecting a new fire system.
“We wanted to redo our system,” she said. “The town has been wonderful and great to work with.”
Niggel said she will need to hire someone to conduct the analysis once the new fire system is installed. She said a contractor is in place for that work.
“We’re doing everything we can to get our members back in here,” she said.
Niggel said she has received an outpouring of community support since the gym closed and wants to reassure members they will be back in the gym soon.
The gym offers a fitness center, classes, a six-lane indoor swimming pool, indoor rock wall, indoor turf, and indoor and outdoor tennis courts. The pool is used by the Nauset High swim teams.
Niggel bought the Norseman Athletic Club in 2002 converted it into Willy’s World. In December 2015 the gym was temporarily shut down for nonpayment of its electric bill. The year before that, Niggel was indicted for failure to pay $242,000 in unemployment tax.