UPDATE | Some downtown area residents asked to shelter in place following fire in St. Catharines

fire st cath 3

No injuries are reported as crews continue to battle a massive fire in downtown St. Catharines.

The blaze is at 30 Ontario Street in the old Welland Student Residence at the corner of King and Ontario.

The building is currently vacant, but is a historic landmark formerly known as the Welland House Hotel.

Residents of the Yates Street neighbourhood and those downwind are being advised to shelter in place due to the presence of smoke from the fire.

Residents advised to shelter in place should always follow the direction of emergency responders and:
• Go indoors immediately and stay there
• Close all windows and doors
• Turn off furnace, air conditioners and other exhaust systems
• Close all vents and dampers

Police are asking you to avoid the area with closures in place from Ontario Street from Church Street to St. Paul Street, William Street, and King Street from Ontario Street to Queen Street.

As a safety precaution gas has been shut off in the area.

With multiple fire hydrants being utilized residents in the area may notice dirty water at their taps for the duration of firefighting efforts.

Municipal Works crews are on scene to manage and capture runoff water from the firefighting effort to protect watercourses and the environment.

Work continues to assess any risk of structural collapse and prevent any risks to public safety.

Councillor Karrie Porter says the city has been going through the process of designating the building as heritage, and they were close to the end. 

She said she was very upset seeing the flames destroy the building.

CKTB will keep you updated on this story.

Google Maps image of 30 Ontario Street prior to fire