Thick, dark smoke filled the air over Brantford’s north end Monday morning as firefighters battled flames at the Brantford Gymnastics Academy.

Crews were called to the gymnastics centre, which is located on Park Road North near Dunsdon Street, around 12:30 a.m.

Firefighters say it took them until about 4 a.m. to get the fire under control, and it was much later in the morning before they were able to enter the building and start investigating.

Damage to the building is considered substantial.

Owner Iudita Brumaru said she was woken up early in the morning by police officers, then went to the gym to watch the firefighters’ efforts.

“Everything was in there, and it burned,” she said.

Brumaru said she hopes to find a new facility to keep her business going.

“We’re going to do the best we can to accommodate them,” she said.

Through Monday morning, people who work and train at the gym were stopping by to offer their support and see the damage for themselves.

“It’s definitely sad to see it like this,” said Christine Dempster, whose daughter trains at the facility. “We’re all quite shocked and heartbroken.”

The Ontario Fire Marshal has been called in to investigate. Information on a possible cause was not immediately available.

With reporting by Allison Tanner