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  

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Work begins on new affordable housing building in Nelson

The 39-unit project is expected to be complete by July 2021

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

No passenger flights at West Kootenay Regional Airport until at least September

This is the third time Air Canada has announced changes to flight operations out of the airport

Morning Start: 180 different bird species exist in Kootenay National Park

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Friday, May 29

Retiring staff feted by School District 8

Teachers, custodians and staff were honoured Thursday

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Most Read