ABSOLUTE Yoga clients were upstairs in the Grenville Street building when the February 6, 2014, fire erupted.
They were participating in a yoga class when the fire broke out and were lucky to escape unharmed.
Just two days after the fire destroyed 11 Grenville Street North, Tracey Hargreaves shifted her business Absolute Yoga and Pilates into a temporary space on Armstrong Street North and held sessions at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.
“I wasn’t there teaching, but the other girls there didn’t notice (the fire) until they were lying down at the end of the session. They opened the door and all the smoke came in,” Ms Hargreaves said.
With the fire escape blocked by smoke and fire, the remaining occupants made an escape through the front door.
“It was an out-of-body experience; it was so surreal. You know, what could you do?”
Ms Hargreaves has now moved her business into a plush new setting on Peel Street South, which offers a little extra space.
“We are better off, but very lucky. It’s weird, maybe it has happened for the best,” she said.
Memories of the day will be at the forefront of Ms Hargreaves’ mind on Friday, the first anniversary of the fire.
“It’s all a surprise, how much community support we’ve had. Buildings don’t burn down any more,” she said. “I’m still surprised that people still want to come and practise.
“It will cross my mind all day, that thank god no one was hurt – and for how the year has turned out.”
Ms Hargreaves said interest in yoga had substantially grown since her business opened five years ago.
“It’s expanding. I think people are looking for an antidote to stress – and I think Ballarat is starting to catch on to Melbourne.”