The remains of the Capital CityCentre Hotel after a late-night fire tore through the building Thursday, Nov. 5. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

UPDATED: Late-night Victoria hotel fire started with mental health call, arson suspected

Six people injured

The charred aftermath of a fire that ripped through a downtown hotel suite and sent several people to hospital is still visible in the morning light.

Crews now believe arson to be the cause of the blaze, which has displaced 87 people.

According to Victoria police, the incident involved a mental health barricade that started around 8:30 p.m. when a man in crisis phoned police from a suite in the Capital CityCenter Hotel and reported that he was armed.

When police arrived, they spoke to him from outside the suite and the man told them he was armed and had barricaded the suite door. As officers continued to communicate with him through the door, they heard the smoke detector sound from inside. Police then saw smoke and tried to get inside and rescue the man, but were unable to enter because of the barricaded door.

READ ALSO: Fire at Victoria hotel contained to one room, leaves 20 suites in need of remediation

At that point, police could see fire inside the suite, and tried again to get inside. This time the door opened, but heavy smoke pushed the officers back.

Tenants were evacuated and the the Victoria Fire Department arrived and began attacking the fire that was burning primarily at the back of the hotel, facing Caledonia Avenue. As people evacuated, police located the man who had been inside the suite and apprehended him under the Mental Health Act.

Six people were injured, five of which were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, including the man from the suite. Several police officers were treated for smoke inhalation.

Fire crews reported that the fire was significant but mostly contained to one suite, although there is substantial smoke damage to the third and fourth floors. Damages are estimated at $250,000.

The fire department reported Friday morning that the probable cause of the fire was arson.

The four-storey building at 1961 Douglas St. is a hotel with an onsite restaurant, lounge and conference rooms. BC Housing has leased 84 of the hotel’s rooms for temporary supportive housing. As a result of the fire, 87 people have been temporarily displaced. BC Housing, Red Cross, Emergency Support Services and Our Place Society are working together to find alternate shelter until residents can safely return.

BC Housing says several rooms in the hotel are rented to non-BC Housing guests and while the fire is still under investigation, the room where the fire originated is not one that is leased by BC Housing.

ALSO READ: Victoria police responding to incident in Burnside Gorge area


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

VictoriaVictoria Fire Department

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The remains of the Capital CityCentre Hotel after a late-night fire tore through the building Thursday, Nov. 5. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

The remains of the Capital CityCentre Hotel after a late-night fire tore through the building Thursday, Nov. 5. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Just Posted

A rendering of Victoria Wonderland, a drive-thru immersive holiday experience that has been cancelled due to COVID-19. (Courtesy of Transcend Victoria)
Victoria Wonderland drive-thru show cancelled due to COVID-19

Organizers hope to host a similar event, if restrictions allow, in the new year

Swiftsure International Yacht Race 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Popular Swiftsure yacht race cancelled for second consecutive year

International sailing race hopes to run its 77th event in 2022

Saanich golfer and top B.C. junior and juvenile player Willy Bishop was named to the 2021 Canadian National Junior Golf Squad on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy Jenny Bishop)
Saanich student to tee-off with national golf team

Willy Bishop, 16, named to Canadian National Junior Golf Squad in 2021

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Four new COVID-19 cases added to Saanich Peninsula Hospital outbreak

Inital round of patient testing is complete, staff testing continues

Oak Bay High students Mimi Hill and Aine O’Donnell run along the Jack Wallace Memorial Track. The old track is due to be resurfaced. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Oak Bay track resurfacing delayed

Oak Bay commits $50,000 towards renewed Jack Wallace track

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Watch Messiah at home with the Sooke Philharmonic

Concert available to stream Dec. 12

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo dismantles downtown homeless encampment after fire

Four to six tents burned up in Wesley Street fire Thursday, Dec. 3

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

โ€˜If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite differentโ€™

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

โ€˜Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.โ€™ โ€” BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read