(Lisa Richardson)

The Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) in Mill Bay is still shuttered to north and southbound traffic following a Friday afternoon blaze at a vacant and boarded-up building.

Fire crews are currently battling flames ravaging Pioneer Square Mall on Shawnigan Lake-Mill Bay Road at the TCH, leaving the busy route closed in both directions.

It’s prompting significant delays, according to Drive BC, as social media users post videos amid the traffic gridlock, showing grey smoke billowing upwards into the skies above.

Other commuters say the mall is fully engulfed in flames and that parts of the building have collapsed.

In a 4:10 p.m. update, Drive BC couldn’t provide an estimated TCH reopening time but did say traffic was being detoured via Cobble Hill Road to Shawnigan Lake Road and vice-versa.

In a tweet, Cowichan Valley School District said up to one-hour delays were expected on after-school bus routes.

This isn’t the first time Pioneer Square has gone ablaze—firefighters responded to previous fires at the building this past February and in November 2021.

Victoria Buzz has reached out to Mill Bay Fire Rescue for more details and will update this story when more information is available.

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