The roof of a two-storey building in Evergreen Mall in Sooke has collapsed in a dramatic early morning fire that is a suspected arson.
Crews from six fire departments are moping up the blaze that has destroyed a Royal Bank and the second floor of the building, and badly damaged the Sooke News Mirror newspaper office and an insurance office in downtown Sooke. No injuries have been reported.
“The roof of the building is fully gone. Crews are still shooting hundreds of gallons of water on it,” Sooke News Mirror publisher Rod Sluggett said earlier this morning.
Sluggett said Sooke RCMP found a location at the back of the building thought to be the seat of an intentionally set fire. The fire started around 4:30 or 5 a.m. “It is definitely arson,” Sluggett said.
Sooke, Metchosin, Colwood, Langford, Otter Point and Shirley fire crews are on scene and the Highway 14 road outside the mall is closed to traffic.
The fire is under control but much of the building is destroyed or damaged from smoke and water.
More information to come. Check out the Sooke News Mirror Facebook page for more photos.