Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Plaza hotel caretaker Mike Draeger remains missing 5 days after downtown fire


Police and firefighters are still searching for Mike Draeger, caretaker of the downtown Victoria Plaza Hotel that went up in flames on Monday, May 6th.

The caretaker of the former hotel, Mike Draeger, remains missing as of Friday evening – 5 days after flames engulfed the abandoned Plaza Hotel at the intersection of Government and Pandora.

See also: One man remains unaccounted for after fire at vacant hotel in downtown Victoria

Authorities have been unable to determine whether or not Draeger was inside the building when the fire broke out.

As City Hall finally reopens after 4 days of closure due to smoke, police continue their search for Draeger and are still unable to provide a photograph or any descriptors of him.

“He was a pretty private person”

According to Draeger’s former coworker Wayne Kalnciems, the caretaker was approximately 60 years old, weighed between 180 and 200 lbs, 6 feet tall, and had short grey hair.

His wardrobe also mainly consisted of jeans, t-shirts, and runners.

“He pretty much kept to himself a lot of the time. I wouldn’t say he didn’t have any friends but he was a pretty private person,” Kalnciems told Victoria Buzz.

Mike Draeger was a maintenance worker/handyman at the century old establishment, and once the bar shut down in 2013, he assumed the role of caretaker.

A trailer that reportedly belonged to him was located behind the building, and a van was parked out front, but there were no signs of anyone being in those vehicles.

Firefighters have also checked every room they could enter inside the unstable structure but have found no signs of Draeger.

Businesses remain shut

City Hall has fully reopened on Friday, and the west sidewalk of Government Street between Johnson and Pandora was cleared for pedestrian use on Thursday.

However several businesses in the area remain closed due to smoke damage, such as Cherry Bomb Toys.

Staff at Victoria’s Virgin Radio station are also currently working out of the Empress Hotel while their building gets their ducts cleaned out.

There is no time estimate on when they will be able to return to their office.

Brishti Basu
Former Senior Staff Writer and Content Manager at Victoria Buzz.

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