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Fire at Gold Club not suspicious

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The cause of Saturday morning's fire at an East Arlington strip club remains under investigation, but the state Fire Marshal's office said it appears to be accidental.

The Gold Club was on fire when an employee arrived for work at 10 a.m. at the business on General Dolittle Drive adjoining Craig Airport. Witnesses said they saw smoke billowing out of the roof as dozens of firefighters worked for nearly three hours to put out the flames.

The general manager of the club, Rus Disparti, said no one was inside the building when it caught fire. He added that the club sustained heavy damage. The fire marshal said there was not yet an estimate of the damages.

Disparti said many of the 100 employees will be working at three other locations under the same ownership as the Gold Club.

"It definitely catches us off guard. We have well over a hundred people who make a living here and all of a sudden, a month before Christmas, they're out of work," Disparti said. "Luckily, we own three other businesses in town that we've dispersed the staff accordingly to make sure everybody's taken care of during Christmas."