02/22/2018 08:34 EST | Updated 02/22/2018 09:21 EST

Brantford, Ont., remains under state of emergency due to flooding

BRANTFORD, Ont. — A southwestern Ontario community remains under a state of emergency after flooding from a swollen river forced thousands of residents from their homes.

Brantford, Ont., Mayor Chris Friel said Thursday the city remains in "response mode" despite an overnight decrease in water levels on the Grand River.

The city declared the state of emergency on Wednesday and ordered nearly 5,000 residents in neighbourhoods near the river to leave their homes. Friel said about 1,000 homes in the area are without gas and power.

"The evacuation order that has impacted the region is still in effect, and will be in effect for a period of time until we have the ability to go in and properly address property issues and safety," Friel said.  

More than 100 kilometres north along the Grand River, near Orangeville, Ont., police continued to search for a three-year-old boy who went missing after his mother's van plunged into the water around 1 a.m. Wednesday.  

The woman was able to drag her son from the van, but lost her grip, and the boy was swept downstream, provincial police said.

"It's been more than 24 hours, the water is extremely cold there's a very slim change he'd be alive," said Const. Paul Nancekivell. "Our goal right now is to find (his body) and get some closure and peace to the family."

Officials have cautioned the public not to go near the river, saying they do not want to see any more tragedy caused by flooding.