(Victoria Buzz)

One man was rushed to hospital in critical condition, following a Friday morning fire at a downtown Victoria high-rise apartment complex. 

The Victoria Fire Department was called to View Towers on Quadra Street at around 11:30 a.m. to find gray smoke billowing from the windows of a unit located ten floors up. 

Video footage shows fire crews extending a ladder to rescue an injured man trapped on the balcony of the north-facing unit, as smoke appears to be smothering his face.

According to acting fire chief Dan Atkinson, the man was quickly sent to hospital suffering from burns and smoke inhalation.

“Last I heard, his condition was listed as critical,” Atkinson told Victoria Buzz.

Another resident stated on social media that she was able to exit the building safely, but noted she and others were told they wouldn’t be able to return to their homes for at least three hours.

As of 3:30 p.m., Atkinson said some were given the thumbs up to head back inside while other units were still being appraised.

“The property manager has brought in a restoration company to assess all the suites. Once the assessment has been completed, we’ll know which occupants are allowed to return and which aren’t,” explained Atkinson. 

It took firefighters about 20 minutes to knock down the fire contained to the one unit. Still, other areas of the 19-storey building saw smoke and water damage. 

To give fire crews room to battle the flames, a section of Quadra Street between View and Vancouver Streets was closed to vehicle traffic for some time.

“All the contents in the suite of origin were damaged due to the fire,” said Atkinson, noting the cause is currently under investigation. 

But he says today’s fire isn’t the first the complex has seen. Eight years ago, a fire on View Towers’ 9th floor left more than 100 residents displaced.

“There’s been some calls that we’ve attended in the past, some more newsworthy than others. I believe the last sort of significant fire we had at the address was in 2014,” added Atkinson.

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