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

Image: Arrow Lakes Historical Society
Historic Kootenay hot springs

The hot springs is running with reduced operations to meet government COVID-19 protocols

The 1100-block of Pine Avenue in downtown Trail is closed to traffic this week as crews from Seko Construction install water and sewer service connections for the new gas station slated to open this summer. Photo: Sheri Regnier
Traffic change in downtown Trail this week

The 1100-block of Pine Avenue is closed to vehicles

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Interior Health announces 89 cases of COVID-19 in the region

Currently, there are 900 active cases in the region

The Trail Smoke Eaters fell 6-1 to the Penticton Vees on Sunday, their third loss to the perennial BCHL powerhouse six games into the 20-game season. Photo: Stephen Piccolo
Penticton Vees dominant in win over Trail Smoke Eaters

Trail Smoke Eaters enjoy two day break until their fourth meeting with Penticton Vees on Wednesday

Kalesnikoff Lumber will be providing materials for a 21-storey apartment building in Vancouver. Rendering: Henriquez Partners Architects
Kalesnikoff supplying mass timber for several major projects

The West Kootenay lumber company will be making the products at South Slocan facility

St. Joseph School Grade 2 student Zoe Kenny watches as Christopher Yates shows her how to string a new drum using hide from his own cows. Photo: Tyler Harper
VIDEO: With good intentions, Nelson school builds Métis drum

The St. Joseph School project is directed by parent Christopher Yates

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Tenants disappear in the night leaving Okanagan home trashed with junk, feces

Spallumcheen rental rooms filled with junk, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Most Read