WATCH (above): A terrifying wake-up call for hundreds of tenants of a Victoria high-rise. Police were first on scene and their heroic efforts to alert residents landed some of them in hospital. But thanks to officers and fire crews, everyone made it out safely. Kylie Stanton reports.
Eight people were sent to hospital and approximately 100 people have been temporarily displaced due to a fire that broke out in one Victoria’s tallest buildings early this morning.
Crews from around Victoria and Saanich battled a blaze that started on the ninth floor of View Towers, an old residential tower on the outskirts of downtown, just before 7 a.m.
The ninth floor of the building suffered heavy damage and the eighth and ninth floors have suffered extensive smoke damage.
While the building has been evacuated and the fire put out, many people are being treated for smoke inhalation injuries – including a number of police officers.
“There was a lot of smoke,” said Victoria police spokesman Bowen Osoko. “It was a smoke-filled floor, but they were up there rescuing people until they were called out for own safety.”
According to Osoko, several officers were treated for smoke inhalation injuries, with seven being sent to hospital.
“They’re walking and talking, but they’ve also suffered from damage from the smoke,” he said.
The Vancouver Island Health Authority says eight people in total were sent to Royal Jubilee Hospital – the seven officers and one resident of the building, who suffered burns. The officers have been discharged, while the resident is expected to be released later today.
A number of roads were also closed near the building while the fire was being fought.
According to Victoria Fire Department chief Jeff Zigay, approximately 100 people have been displaced. They will be allowed back after they determine there’s no risk on the damaged floors – but they’re unsure how long that will be. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
“We’re pretty this didn’t come in the middle of the night,” said Zigay, who noted that their ladder reached just up to the ninth floor.
“We were able to initiate a big knockdown from the outside before sending in an interior crew to hit it from the inside…we’re lucky we got a quick response.”
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