Crews battled a large building fire in downtown Victoria the morning of May 6. Mike Daeger was the caretaker of the facility, and is currently unaccounted for. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Caretaker of vacant Victoria hotel still missing 2 days after large fire

Wayne Kainciems, a former caretaker says it is stranger Michael Daeger is still missing

Victoria Police have yet to hear any news of missing man Michael Daeger, the caretaker of a hotel that caught fire Monday morning.

The Victoria Fire Department reported that they don’t believe anyone was in the 603 Pandora Ave. building when it caught fire two days ago. But Daeger has yet to be confirmed accounted for by officials.

READ MORE: One man missing in relation to downtown Victoria fire

VicPD are leading the search now, but so far have not heard anything.

Wayne Kainciems has known Daeger for over 20 years through work; he was a DJ at the former Monty’s strip club, and continues to work as a booking agent for dancers at clubs across B.C.

In 1996 he met Daeger, who was already working at the hotel as its maintenance man.

“He’s been there for many years,” Kainciems said. “In hotels like that that aren’t the fanciest places in the world there’s always a guy there to be a handyman.”

ALSO READ: Fire ravages empty downtown Victoria building

Kanciems said that after the business shut down in 2013, Daeger was retained to stay on as a live-in caretaker.

“I helped him out a couple times after it closed,” Kainciems said. “There’s 65 rooms in there so there was always a lot to do.”

Daeger lived on the third floor, taking over a larger suite than the ones that had been reserved for dancers and guests. Outside of the hotel, Daeger sometimes lived out of the chrome Airstream trailer in the hotel’s back alley.

Victoria Fire Chief Paul Bruce said that when firefighters first investigated the building, they got up to the third floor before realizing the fire was coming from the basement and had to evacuate. When asked if they’d completed a final sweep of the third floor, Bruce was uncertain as he hadn’t debriefed with firefighters who were on shift Sunday night.

ALSO READ: Victoria Fire Department brings in rigs to help stop fire

When Kainciems saw footage of the fire from the Broad Street angle, however, he grew concerned.

“I saw smoke billowing out of a window that could have been his,” he said, “That freaked me out.”

Kainciems said Daeger is close to 60 years old, and doesn’t carry a cellphone or have social media accounts, making him a hard person to get a hold of at the best of times. Still, he finds it weird that he wouldn’t be on site.

“He’s just one of those people who’s always been there.”

B. Woodward, who owns the neighbouring Cherry Bomb Toys, told Black Press that he hadn’t seen Draeger in a couple days.

“There was a maintenance person taking care of the building, but I think he’s been away for a few days, I haven’t seen him,” said Woodward. “I don’t know if he took off for a few days or if something happened.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Divorced Canadians not afraid to take the plunge again

Most will wait almost five years before remarrying

Barriers remain to abortion access on Vancouver Island

Experts say transportation, support, doctors can be barriers to accessing abortion

Survey finds 15 per cent of Canadian cannabis users with a valid licence drive within two hours of using

Survey also finds middle-aged men are upping their usage following legalization

Father of Saanich murder victim Lindsay Buziak set to appear on Dr. Phil show Friday

Jeff Buziak says he has not seen the show and does not know what to expect

EDITORIAL: We need to change our fire behaviour

Most wildfires in BC during April and May were caused by humans.

Serious crash scatters pylons, closes highway lanes on mid Island

Crash happened at 1 a.m. Wednesday on the Trans-Canada Highway in Nanaimo

Horse carriage supporters to rally outside Victoria’s city hall

Owner of carriage company plans rally in response to push to shut them down

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

Saanich lifeguards earn Vital Link awards for cardiac arrest response

Awards from BC Emergency Health Services recognize quick and skillful life-saving

Ottawa spending $24.5M to research on health benefits, risks of pot use

$390,000 will fund two cannabis public awareness

Crackdown on money laundering does not include federal public inquiry: minister

An independent report commissioned concluded $7.4 billion was laundered in B.C. last year

Trudeau’s action plan on climate change brings B.C. politician out of retirement

Terry Lake, a former B.C. health minister, is running for federal office in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo

Survey finds minimal progress in Canadian military’s fight against sexual misconduct

1.6 per cent of regular-force members — 900 military personnel — reported having been victims of sexual assaults over past year

Most Read