Pasadena gym owners push forward after January tornado

Chaz Miller Image
Tuesday, August 1, 2023
Pasadena gym owners push forward after January tornado
Their gym was destroyed and then they were hit by looters. How the CrossFit community to stepped up to help them.

PASADENA, Texas (KTRK) -- It's been six months since CrossFit South Belt in Pasadena had its longtime home on Mickey Gilley Blvd. destroyed by a tornado.

"We had four of us in that building when the tornado hit," owner Chris Duke told ABC13 moments after the storm hit in January. "We all hid in the restrooms."

Nobody was physically harmed, but Chris and his wife Carla weren't sure if they wanted to continue the business following the destruction.

"We put everything in God's hands and let him tell us what our next step (was)," he said.

They chose to keep CrossFit South Belt going, but that doesn't mean things have been easy.

"It's pretty rough, it's pretty hard," said Carla. "It's been a really challenging six months."

The first thing they had to do was clean up, then looters stole some of their equipment from the damaged facility, and they still don't have a full-time home.

Their temporary home, which is located right around the corner from their old gym, provided the first glimmers of hope for the Dukes after the tornado.

"A really, really nice couple just opened up our gym to us and let us run our classes there," Carla said of their current facility on Pine Avenue.

That took place in February, and their clients are happy things have worked out this way.

"They're very dedicated and committed to what they do," said Laura Flores. "They take care of us like a family."

There is still a lot of work to be done, but Chris and Carla said they're committed to finding a new gym in the community that supported them in their darkest moments as gym owners.

"We've had a great community of people who have helped us out. We really did," she said. "People came out and moved equipment in the rain and the cold. That was amazing."