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)

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

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

This is the third year Raymond Imbeau and Barbara Kitz have picked up cans in the backcountry and donated the proceeds to COSAR. (Central Okanagan Search and Rescue)
Kelowna couple cleans forests for Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

Raymond Imbeau and Barbara Kitz donated $3,200 to COSAR

Lights will be on display for the annual Candy Cane Lane in Rutland until Jan. 1. - Mackenzie Britton/Capital News
Kelowna’s Candy Cane Lane to celebrate a decade of holiday lights

The event will run from Dec. 1 to Jan. 1, 2021

The video was used for (KGH Foundation - YouTube)
Okanagan filmmaker, poet win at L.A. Film Awards

Spoken word artist Shane Koyczan wrote and filmmaker David Nault produced the commercial

The Mission will be opening a temporary winter shelter starting on Dec. 1. (Kelowna’s Gospel Mission)
Gospel Mission’s winter shelter opens in downtown Kelowna

The temporary winter shelter will be in the former Kelowna Daily Courier offices

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Join Rob Dinwoodie and bandmates for a Cowboy Christmas, Dec. 11 and 12 at Vernon and District Performing Arts Center. Seating is cabaret style on the stage for an intimate concert. (Contributed)
North Okanagan cowboys go virtual for Christmas

Cowboy Christmas streamed Dec. 11-25

Vernon is getting in the Christmas spirit with many homes decorating with lights and extras. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
Christmas lights tour mapped out by Vernon realtor

More than 20 of the community’s best lit houses make up annual tradition

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Salmon Arm RCMP say some patrons have been harassing local businesses over mask requirements. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Police urge respect after Salmon Arm businesses report being harassed over mask rules

Wearing of masks in businesses and public spaces is currently mandated by the province

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Salmon Arm RCMP officers attended two public COVID-19 demonstrations held in Salmon Arm on Saturday, Nov. 28.  (File photo)
Organizer of Salmon Arm COVID-19 demonstration fined $2,000 by RCMP

Police said some participants weren’t aware of the public health order prohibiting gatherings

Most Read