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Brantford under state of emergency due to flooding

Last Updated Feb 22, 2018 at 6:20 pm EDT

Brant's Crossing near the Grand River in Brantford, Ont., on Feb. 21, 2018. Photo by 570's Mark Pare.

The city of Brantford has declared a state of emergency due to flooding and ordered residents from several neighbourhoods to leave their homes.

Conservation officials say water levels on the Grand River, which runs through the city, have been rising after an ice jam released and sent a surge of water downstream.

City officials issued an evacuation order for residents in three neighbourhoods that surround the river — Holmedale, Old West Brant and Eagle Place — on Wednesday around 5 a.m. it was lifted on Thursday just before 6 p.m.

Police went door-to-door in some areas on Wednesday, encouraging people to leave the flood-plain area with buses available to remove people.

About 2,200 homes and almost 5,000 residents were affected by the evacuation orders. Power has been cut to around 650 homes, and gas will be shut off in those affected areas as well.

Those requiring shelter were told to go to Woodman Park Community Centre.

At a news conference held Wednesday moening, Brantford Mayor Chris Friel said the flooding has also closed nearby trails as well as many local businesses and schools.

People are being warned to stay away from the river.

“It is never worth your personal safety for a view of the river … stay away from the river,” Friel says. “That is not just for today or this afternoon or this evening. That will be for the next couple days at least.”

Two bridges — Lorne Bridge and Veteran Memorial Parkway — were closed, they opened around 6 p.m. on Thursday. Officials say once the water recedes, structural reviews will be done of the bridges as well as the attached pedestrian bridges.

Police are flying a drone over the river so officials can monitor water levels.

Friel said the Ontario government has been in contact with his community, and Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Bill Mauro said a team is already en route to the city.

UPDATE: Six Nations has now declared a State of Emergency: