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

 

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

Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of Special Olympics B.C. kicks off with a run at Swan Lake on June 6. The virtual fundraiser runs until June 20. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Torch run seeks to scorch previous fundraiser, targets $75,000 for Special Olympics

Global movement shoots for 40,000 km in honour of the 40th anniversary

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read