A large structure fire in downtown Victoria shut down much of the surrounding area for several hours Tuesday evening, and is under investigation by police.
Over 20 firefighters battled the blaze at 639 Chatham Street, with black smoke rising that could be seen throughout downtown and as far away as Mt. Tolmie.
The structure was abandoned building that was home to Strebor Automotive for many years. Ronald Lou-Poy, the owner of the building, said it was scheduled for demolition.
Fire crews evacuated nearby buildings as a precautionary measure, including the Island Travel Inn, and advised people to stay clear of the smoke if they had any respiratory issues. There were also power outages in blocks around the building, affecting over 300 customers.
Witnesses on scene told Global News that the building was home to several squatters. One person was detained by police on sight, but has since been released. No injuries have been reported, and police have not laid any charges.
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