Experts search rubble of former Victoria hotel following suspicious fire – CBC.ca

Experts search rubble of former Victoria hotel following suspicious fire - CBC.ca
Downtown Victoria fire deemed suspicious
Police and fire investigators in Victoria are sifting through the charred remains of the Plaza Hotel, which was destroyed last week in a fire police say is considered suspicious.

Const. Matt Rutherford says in a statement that officers obtained a warrant on Monday to search the downtown Victoria property.

Police and fire investigators began their search of the rubble Monday in an attempt to determine the cause of the May 6 blaze that levelled the four-storey building at the corner of Government Street and Pandora Avenue.

Victoria police investigating suspicious fire at former Plaza Hotel

He says police and fire investigators expected to remain at the scene for up to a few weeks as they try to confirm what caused the blaze.

Firefighters were called to the Plaza Hotel on Government Street just before 5:30 a.m. and arrived to a fully involved fire. Officials said alarms at neighbouring properties went off, but not inside the vacant hotel.

Mike Draeger, caretaker of the long-vacant hotel, has not been seen since the fire and police said last week that he was known to stay in the building.

"Our investigators, along with the Victoria Fire Departments investigators, were on the site yesterday, and will be there for up to a few weeks," Victoria police said Tuesday.

Clouds of choking smoke blanketed much of the downtown core at the height of the blaze, which flared up again several times, forcing the closure of Victoria City Hall and causing smoke and water damage to surrounding businesses.

"These type of investigations are lengthy and an appropriate amount of resources will be dedicated to investigate the origin of the fire." 

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Victoria police detectives have joined fire investigators in probing a suspicious blaze that gutted the former Plaza Hotel last week.

VicPD Major Crime Unit detectives are working on the case, said spokesman Const. Matt Rutherford, in a news release this morning.

Police say they have been working closely with the fire department since the fire broke out at 603 Pandora Ave. on May 6.

Fire officials at the scene of the former Plaza Hotel on Tuesday, May 14, 2019. (CTV Vancouver Island)

Officers with the Victoria Police Department applied for and were granted a search warrant for the property yesterday afternoon, Rutherford said.

Our investigators, along with the Victoria Fire Departments investigators, were on the site yesterday, and will be there for up to a few weeks.

These type of investigations are lengthy and an appropriate amount of resources will be dedicated to investigate the origin of the fire, Rutherford said.

Meanwhile, the Victoria Fire Department is carrying on with its investigation into a fire that occurred over the weekend in a former nightclub on the 1300-block of Broad Street.