Hanover Reserve fire: Area businesses offer to help those suddenly lacking a wedding venue

Credit: Journal News

Caption
Hanover Reserve event center fire

Credit: Journal News

Those offering assistance ‘just kind of got out of hand, in a good way,’ Pinball Garage owner said.

Before fires were extinguished at the new, nearly $3.6 million Hanover Reserve Weddings & Events center, area companies were offering to help brides and grooms who suddenly found themselves without a location for their marriages.

The fire happened while people were gathered to celebrate a wedding at Hanover Reserve. Everybody left safely and nobody was injured.

Brad Baker, owner of Pinball Garage in Hamilton, posted on Facebook that it was heartbreaking to see a fire had occurred on the new, 45-acre property, which opened in May. He offered his bar and restaurant for free. Then came a deluge of other people and companies offering to help.

“Heartbreaking to hear about the devastating fire at Hanover tonight,” Pinball Garage’s Sunday-evening post on Facebook said. “If you or someone you know had a wedding planned and need a place, we have a large outdoor area and will offer it totally free. It’s not fancy but we want to help if we can. We can also assist with catering food, drinks & entertainment. Please message us if we can help.”

So many other companies were offering their assistance by adding comments to the Pinball Garage post.

Hanover Twp. Fire Chief Phillip Clark said officials believe it started in a propane fireplace inside the building. His was one of several fire departments that battled the blaze, and others that happened after the original fire was out, Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Multiple fire departments battled a blaze at Hanover Reserve Weddings and Events in Hanover Twp. for hours Sunday night and early this morning. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
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Multiple fire departments battled a blaze at Hanover Reserve Weddings and Events in Hanover Twp. for hours Sunday night and early this morning. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Clark, who earlier said the roof’s construction — metal, Styrofoam and plywood — created challenges for those battling the flames. Clark was meeting with officials from the state fire marshal’s office Monday afternoon.

“It got into the plywood, which got in the middle between the plywood and the metal roof, so the Styrofoam was feeding the fire,” said Clark.

He said it took about 100,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire, which persisted for hours. Without fire hydrants in the area, most of the water came from tankers.

Officials have not provided an estimate of the building’s damage and Hanover Reserve has not estimated how long it will take to reopen.

Even before the venue opened, co-owner and general manager Melanie Barnes told the Journal-News in May that almost every Saturday was booked in 2021, and many are claimed for 2022. The company’s website shows every Friday and Saturday booked the rest of this month; every Saturday and most Fridays booked in November; and every Saturday occupied from March 19 through Dec. 10 of 2022, with many Fridays also reserved for events.

“This is not a good time, I’m sorry,” Barnes said, when contacted Monday by phone.

Hanover Reserve is family-owned by three brothers and their wives with all of them taking an active role in the operation. Extended family has a role in Hanover Reserve, too, with everybody pitching in during construction.

It is a large piece of land with the building set back from the road far enough that traffic noise cannot be heard and provides a sense of rustic and isolated privacy.

They purchased the land in January of 2019 and spent a year and a half studying their concept. Groundbreaking was in May 2020 with construction and set-up finished just before their grand opening May 16 of this year.

In addition to the large reception room, the facility has a large covered outdoor area in back overlooking a pond with a fountain in the middle. The fountain can be lit with different colors to match a bride’s color scheme.

Construction is in the final stages at Hanover Reserve weddings and events venue on Millville Oxford Road. The building is situated on 45 acres with a 2 acre pond creating a scenic backdrop. It features room for 400 guests, bride and groom dressing areas, full bar, covered outdoor areas, fountains and more. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Caption
Construction is in the final stages at Hanover Reserve weddings and events venue on Millville Oxford Road. The building is situated on 45 acres with a 2 acre pond creating a scenic backdrop. It features room for 400 guests, bride and groom dressing areas, full bar, covered outdoor areas, fountains and more. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Offers to help “just kind of got out of hand, in a good way,” Baker said about other businesses offering their assistance. He has added offers by other businesses to his Facebook post “so that people who potentially lost their venue coming up soon would have a place, or at least services, whether it’s DJ or caterer or flowers, or whatever people have messaged us about.”

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