VIDEO: Partial collapse as fire ravages empty Victoria building

City issues air quality advisory as fire crews take defensive approach

Victoria Fire Department is considering a controlled collapse after fighting a fire for hours Monday morning in Victoria. Fire crews were called to the vacant building at 603 Pandora Ave. shortly after 5 a.m.

READ MORE: Vigorous fire engulfs rear section of Victoria gas station

Buildings between Johnson Street and Pandora Avenue were evacuated after the call came in around 5 a.m.

Laura Carr, from the Seattle area, was evacuated from a short term rental in the building adjacent to the one burning.

“The alarm started going off I think it was about 5:15,” Carr said.

They initially thought it was a false alarm and had a concern over grabbing the room key.

“We did grab our passports we did throw some shoes on,” Carr said. “But not everyone did.”

Carr says by the time they were down the stairs from their third-floor condo, the smoke was noticeable.

“By the time we got out front … we were watching smoke coming out the top level. I’ve heard since it might have been fully engulfed by the time we were evacuating.”

She’s confident firefighters ensured everyone was evacuated from the building.

Carr was told they could not return for belongings for a few days, and went shopping to buy clothing.

READ MORE: Grass fire near Langford school under investigation

The 600 block of Pandora is closed to traffic, as is the 1400 block of Government Street.

Buses in the area are affected. Victoria Fire says they are in defensive position as it is too dangerous to enter at this time.

The City of Victoria issued an advisory on social media that air quality is poor due to the structure fire, and advised residents and visitors to stay a safe distance away.

– with files from Kendra Crighton, Matteus O’Connor, Nicole Crescenzi

READ MORE: One woman confirmed dead following Esquimalt fire

 

Wendy Hedley and her husband are visiting from Winnipeg and were staying next door only to be evacuated around 5:15 a.m. Monday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Crews battle a large building fire in downtown Victoria the morning of May 6. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

The view from Royal Bay of Victoria’s building fire Monday morning. (Jen Papp photo)

(Marco Crescenzi/News Staff) (Marco Crescenzi/News Staff)

(Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

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