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PHOTOS: Victoria firefighters pluck man from balcony in apartment building fire

Smoke billows from building at View and Quadra streets

Victoria fire crews rescued one man using a ladder during a blaze in a 14-storey apartment building late Friday morning.

Smoke billowed from a unit around the 10th floor of the apartment building shortly after 11:30 a.m. on April 29.

Victoria firefighters lowered the man from a balcony of the unit where the fire appeared to be. Smoke dwindled quickly as crews battled the blaze.

“I was just in my bedroom and saw smoke, looked out the window and saw it billowing out,” said Derek Warner, who lives four floors above where the fire happened. He then went and knocked on the door of the engulfed unit to check on the man inside but nobody answered. He then pulled the fire alarm and got out of the building.

“I was definitely worried because there’s a lot of people in that building who have mobility issues,” Warner said.

Steve Phillips was coming from some work on Douglas Street and his hands still donned yellow rubber gloves, one gripped around a bottle of cleaner, as he turned the corner and saw his building on fire.

He’s seen a number of fires in the downtown apartment over the 12 years he’s lived there.

Phillips said it seemed like the crews didn’t know the man was still inside until he appeared on the balcony, his face smudged with soot.

“I’m glad he didn’t die,” he said, dumbfounded that the rescued man was still in his unit.

He said the fires he’s experienced at the building have all been contained to the unit where they started due to the structure being concrete.

“You’re never ready for this right,” he added, lamenting how he left his phone at home as he only expected to be gone for about an hour.

“I have to go to work at three o’clock, this was not on the agenda.”

READ ALSO: View Towers fire closes downtown streets (2014)

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Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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