The Plaza Hotel caught fire on May 6. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Victoria Police confirm downtown Plaza Hotel fire was arson

Live-in caretaker still unaccounted for

The Victoria Police Department has confirmed that the fire at the downtown Plaza Hotel was arson.

On May 6 a fire engulfed the property at 603 Pandora Ave., spreading smoke and ashes into the city for several days.

Early investigations touted the fire as “suspicious,” but no other information had been released.

READ MORE: Downtown Victoria fire deemed ‘suspicious’

One person is still unaccounted for in relation to the fire; live-in caretaker Mike Draeger has not been heard from since the day of the blaze.

Both the VicPD and the BC Coroners Service say no human remains were located in the debris.

Police are still interested in finding more information about Draeger, and with the announcement of arson released a new photo of him without a beard.

Victoria Police Released a new photo of unaccounted for caretaker Mike Draeger (File contributed/VicPD)

Details of the arson have not been released, but earlier comments from Victoria Fire Department Chief Paul Bruce alluded to the possibility of a fire accelerant in the building’s basement, saying that that the fire had “either [been] burning undetected for a long time, or there was rapid fire spread.”

ALSO READ: Downtown Victoria building failed two fire inspections before catching fire

The investigation into the case is ongoing.

In the meantime, the City of Victoria has approved the demolition of the remaining structures on site.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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