A male is missing after a vacant downtown Victoria hotel was devastated by fire Monday morning.
Mike Draeger, a caretaker at the former Plaza Hotel structure, was still missing in the aftermath of the fire Monday evening.
Victoria police are asking anybody who has seen Draeger to get in touch with authorities immediately to ensure his wellness.
Firemens were contacted us to the Plaza Hotel on Government Street prior to 5: 30 a.m. and arrived to a completely included fire. Officials stated alarms at neighbouring residential or commercial properties went off, but not inside the vacant hotel.
Heavy dark smoke could been seen billowing from windows of the hotel, the former home of Monty’s Exotic Display room Pub. The streets around the hotel were closed to traffic by emergency situation officials but large crowds of observers had collected to watch the blaze.
Rescue teams performed a full sweep of the building and didn’t believe anyone was inside at the time.
Victoria fire Chief Paul Bruce later on stated the caretaker, who is understood to stay in the abandoned structure was unaccounted for, but could not hypothesize on whether he was inside the structure when the fire broke out.
Owners of the home validated they had actually not spoken with Draeger and were en path to Victoria.
” We’re concerned for the home manager and any other people who’re part of the neighbouring bulidings and part of the community,” said Nick Askew of Ocean Gate Advancement, which owns the structure.
An upkeep employee at the Royal Victoria Suites, an eight-unit hotel surrounding to the Plaza building, said he concerned the scene at 6 a.m. to inspect on visitors and to look for Draeger.
” No one’s seen Mike yet,” stated James Middleton. “That’s why I boiled down.”
Draeger resides in the back of the Plaza building, he said. Middleton last saw him yesterday.
” I’m worried about him … I’m unsure that he’s made it out,” he stated.
” If he’s not amongst these people seeing then I do not understand where he would be.”
Asked whether asbestos was inside the historic building, Bruce said there was “no active record to determine whether asbestos is or isn’t there.”
Bruce stated it’s prematurely to say whether the fire is considered suspicious, but signs point to it being helped along in some way.
” I ‘d hate to speculate on what the cause was but the reality is it was rather a substantial fire to evolve that rapidly, definitely leads us to believe that there might’ve been some support,” he stated.
Investigators haven’t identified where the blaze was sparked, however said crews first found flames in the basement of the structure with heavy smoke conditions on all floors.
At one point, part of the structure collapsed as flames shot through the roofing.
At 10: 30 a.m., deputy fire Chief Dan Atkinson stated there were no reports of anyone suffering injuries which the blaze was primarily consisted of.
” As it stands today we’ve got the building sort of where we desire it,” he said. “This has actually been a successful operation as far as I’m concerned … All the buildings to the south have actually been saved, and it looks like there’s going to be no fire damage there.”
The department released 3 aerial trucks, a rescue truck and a battalion, along with 3 command officers. At its peak, 34 firefighters were actively battling the blaze.
” A fire of this scope is going to continue to burn for an extended period of time,” stated Atkinson. “We’re putting out locations, making sure it does not spread.”
He stated given the quantity of damage the building sustained, fire detectives wouldn’t be able to enter to continue their investigation.
The Royal Victoria Suites was left by the fire department after alarms went off. Every guest in the 8 occupied suites was represented, though some simply entrusted to passports and clothes.
Tieca, an American tourist at the hotel who asked CTV News not to publish her surname, wasn’t fortunate adequate to grab her purse or passport.
She stated her family woke up to a hotel fire alarm at approximately 5: 10 a.m.
” We grabbed the fire extinguisher real fast due to the fact that there was one outside the door and just sort of followed the hallways. Sadly that’s the only escape is through the stairwells down floor,” she stated.
” I just got one bag that was by the door which was it– simply hauled out.”
” The alarm went off around five o’clock or so, so we scuttled out of the building as quick as possible,” said another visitor.
The Plaza Hotel has been mostly uninhabited for several years.
The City of Victoria alerted homeowners that air quality downtown was poor and recommended individuals to keep away from the location. City Hall was closed down for the day due to the poor air quality and various roads would remain closed in the downtown core, officials stated.
Centennial Square was closed to the general public just after 3 p.m. due to interest in the ongoing smoke.
The Canadian Coast Guard deployed containment booms around the base of the Johnson Street Bridge to consist of any overflow from the Plaza Hotel fire. There was no sign of just how much water from the fire was prevented from entering the harbour, or what toxins, if any, it contained.
Smoke might be seen well outside the downtown core and as far away as Port Angeles, Wash.
‘ My dreams are going up in smoke’
Heidi Sherwood, owner the Sattva Medspa inside the Royal Victoria Suites structure, viewed with fading optimism Monday morning as the flames intruded upon her company.
” I was feeling actually positive that they would be able to save this structure, however just now I can see that fire simply began coming out of the elevator shaft, which means that fire has penetrated my building, either from the roofing system or the wall,” she said.
” I feel really surprised. My dreams are failing today,” she stated.
” I have actually worked really, actually difficult in this neighborhood to develop this company. I’ve worked actually tough and it just feels like it’s actually going up in smoke today.”
Downtown resident B. Woodward, co-owner of the Firecracker Toys store across the alley from the fire, had actually been at the scene considering that 6 a.m. Monday.
” We saw smoke essentially billowing out of the front corner, then the side of the structure, then essentially a little later they went through the basement and flames started shooting out,” he told CTV News.
” There’s a lot of smoke everywhere, it’s crazy. Don’t boil down here if you don’t have to due to the fact that it’s not excellent for the lungs.”
By 6: 30 p.m., demolition crews were utilizing an excavator to punch big holes in the back of the building and eliminate rubble while firemens continued spraying water into the interior.