Victoria hotel housing homeless evacuated after second fire
VICTORIA -- A Victoria hotel that was purchased by the provincial government to house unsheltered people had to be evacuated Tuesday morning after a fire broke out in one of the units.
Fire crews responded to the former Comfort Inn on Blanshard Street after a fire set off the building’s fire alarms and sprinkler system, forcing the evacuation of the building.
The fire was contained to one suite, but smoke and water damage spread to surrounding units, leaving 20 suites uninhabitable.
People who were staying at the affected units will now be housed in vacant suites in other parts of the hotel.
Firefighters say they found a mattress burning in the suite that the fire started in. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
On May 24, firefighters were called to the same hotel for reports of a fire. At the time, the fire also triggered the building’s sprinkler system and fire alarms.
Last week, Grant McKenzie, the communications coordinator for Our Place Society – which is helping to manage the hotel – said that the fire appeared to be accidental.
"Sometimes these things happen as we adjust," he said last Sunday.
"It's nothing that was anything deliberate or anything like that. It was an accident that set off the sprinklers, so we're not really looking at it as a serious incident. It's unfortunate, but it's not a serious incident."
In total, 93 people have been moved into the Comfort Inn hotel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, McKenzie says that people have been adjusting well.