Nearly 70 people displaced by fire at Hanover, Ont. rooming house
Nearly 70 people are getting emergency community support after fire ripped through a building in downtown Hanover, Ont.
Just after 2 a.m. Thursday, police officers on patrol spotted smoke coming from the roof at the former Forum Hotel Rooming House located at 315 10th St. and called for the fire department. Those officers were later treated for smoke inhalation.
Rooming house resident Guy Sanguygni said he was woken up to the sound of fire alarms.
“I heard the alarm and then I heard somebody yell 'it’s real,’” he said.
When firefighters arrived, the building was filled with heavy smoke, making rescue and evacuation efforts difficult.
“My one friend, next door, he had to crawl out the smoke was so bad,” Sanguygni said.
At this point in the investigation, police believe all of the building’s 40 to 45 residents escaped, but officers are still working to confirm there was no loss of life. Officials believe some pets belonging to residents may have perished in the fire.
“The fire was very rapidly progressing and so we did what we could and then hit the fire from the outside,” said Hanover Fire Chief Chris Dentiger.
As the flames spread to neighbouring buildings, residents in those buildings were evacuated too and the businesses below were washed out.
Jenn Olivero, an employee of Fabulous Fashions said it’s devastating.
“[I’m] grieving for the loss, a real community hub, was the shop,” Olivero said.
Police and EMS quickly organized inside Grace United Church, supporting nearly 70 people.
“Everything from food to victim services, we are looking at how to do shelter,” said Reverend Micol Cottrell.
Residents looking to donate to those who have been displaced can drop off items at Grace United Church.
As of 6 p.m. fire crews were still working to extinguish hot spots.
Later Thursday afternoon, fire officials said public safety concerns have developed for possible building collapse of the fire gutted buildings. As such, 10th Street between 9th Ave., through to 11th Ave. has been closed to pedestrian traffic.
Investigators are looking to speak with anyone who was in the building at the time of the fire, or had visited 24 hours before.
- With files from CTV News KItchener
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