Emergency services are at the scene of a major fire in Hanover city center this morning.
Hanover police said in a statement that officers on patrol located a structure fire at the former rooming house of the Forum Hotel at 315 10th Street in Hanover just before 2:30 a.m. Thursday morning. The fire also affected the building at 309 10th Street, which houses Fabulous Fashions.
“Hanover officers summoned the Hanover Fire Department to respond and entered the building to alert residents and assist in the evacuation,” a Hanover police statement said. “When officers entered the building, it was filled with thick smoke, which made rescue and evacuation efforts difficult.”
Firefighters from the Hanover, Walkerton, West Grey, Elmwood and Inter-Township Fire Departments are on the scene and have been working to prevent the blaze from spreading further to nearby buildings. Police and firefighters also evacuated residents from surrounding buildings.
Footage from the scene earlier this morning showed huge clouds of smoke billowing from buildings, as bright orange flames lit up the multi-storey interior.
A witness at the scene told us firefighters appeared to have the blaze under control by 7:30 a.m. Crews continued to blast buildings on 10th Street in Hanover with water cannons from the street, but the large flames were no longer visible.
Hannover Police Chief Christopher Knoll said on social media: “We believe all residents escaped the fire, however, officers are trying to confirm this information.”
“Due to the transient nature of many residents, officers continue to confirm that the fire did not result in any loss of life. Some pets belonging to the residents may have perished in the fire,” a Hannover police statement said.
10th Street in Hannover is closed from 9th to 11th Avenue. The police advise that the closure is expected to continue until the end of the day.
“We’re asking everyone to avoid downtown,” Knoll says.
Two Hanover police officers were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene by Gray County paramedics.
Displaced residents are encouraged to come to Grace United Church on 12th Street in Hanover, where social service agencies have organized to provide assistance related to their basic needs and the necessities of life.
The cause of the fire remains unknown at this time.
The Hannover Police Department continues to investigate in partnership with the Hannover Fire Department and the Office of the Fire Marshal.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from an earlier version to include new information.