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B'ville: Finding focus

Things were looking up for Barb Kruz.

Having recently retired, she was prepared to offer more classes at her Baldwinsville business, extend hours and accompany one of her students to the Olympics. That was until two weeks ago, when a fire ripped through her studio's building at the four corners in Baldwinsville, leaving Kruz's Karate Dojo homeless.

Kruz was at home that Aug. 6 morning when she heard the sirens and saw the fire engines go by her home.

"One of my students' boyfriends came by and told me what happened," she said. "I couldn't believe it."

The historic building at 9 W. Genesee St. (on the south west corner of the intersection of routes 31 and 48) suffered fire, smoke and water damage from an intentionally set fire. The building housed both residential and commercial properties and officials are still uncertain whether the property will be recovered.

The windows of Kruz's first floor studio were broken and almost everything in her space had water and smoke damage.

Still, things weren't as bad as they could have been.

The first thing Kruz removed from the severely damaged building was a prized, irreplaceable certificate received from her sensei in Okinawa, Japan, who has since passed away.

"I was so surprised it didn't have any water damage at all," Kruz said, adding that most of her equipment in the building was vinyl covered and has dried out since the fire.

Transferring the equipment to her house, Kruz has now opened her home to her classes.

"I didn't want to not have classes," she said.

She is hoping to get permission from the town of Lysander to expand her space to accommodate more students and classes.

"I have always wanted a dojo connected to my home, because that's what a dojo is. It's not a studio in a strip mall," she said.

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