Firefighters are on the scene of a blaze at the Avenue Hotel on Victoria Ave in Central Whanganui.
The fire was reported at 5.52pm on Sunday and four fire appliances were sent to the scene.
A statement from the hotel said the fire was in the kitchen which sustained significant damage and would not be operational for some time.
“The fire brigade’s service has been amazing and the fire was contained within a short period of time,” it said.
“As the electricity was cut as a safety measure, all personnel have been relocated from the accommodation. Security guards from Armourgard were quickly on the scene and are assisting guests and staff to keep the hotel secure overnight.
“All staff and approximately 20 guests were evacuated and have been relocated to various motels around town. We are grateful for the motels assisting the hotel in this emergency.”
“Management are working through all of the issues in this difficult time.”
Witness Jess Hayward said she was alerted to the fire when she heard people yelling outside.
“I could hear people yelling ‘fire, fire’, so I jumped up and ran outside. People were yelling ‘fire, fire over at Pak‘nSave’,” she said.
“It was very scary. It was pretty well alight. It was massive, it took them quite a while to get it out.”
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) says the fire has been contained.
“We’re now in the process of mopping up and making sure all hotspots are out,” a spokesperson said.
“We may be in that phase for quite some time.”
Victoria Ave was cordoned off between Liverpool St and Pak‘nSave while firefighters attended the scene.
Fenz could not say where or how the fire started but a fire investigator would be on-site in the morning to asses the scene.