Man rescued from 10th floor during apartment fire

The man was rescued off a 10th-floor balcony. Most of the 19-storey building at View and Quadra streets, which contains 350 units, was evacuated as firefighters battle the blaze.

Victoria firefighters rescued a man off a 10th-floor balcony and quickly knocked down what could have been a disastrous fire at View Towers residential high-rise on Friday morning.

The rescued man is in hospital with severe burns, the fire department said.

Dan Atkinson, acting chief of the Victoria Fire Department, said firefighters responded about 11:30 am The fire, which was contained to one unit, was extinguished in about 20 minutes.

Most of the 19-storey building at View and Quadra streets, which contains 350 units, was evacuated as firefighters received support from Victoria police officers, Atkinson said.

Video of the rescue shows a firefighter stepping onto the balcony railing to get the man, then helping him climb onto the railing and into a bucket atop a fire truck ladder. The man, covered in black soot, collapses into a waiting firefighter’s arms as thick black smoke pours out of the apartment.

The man was taken to hospital and was listed in critical condition with severe burns and smoke inhalation.

Tobias Jones, a resident of View Towers, told CHEK News he was just getting back home when the fire broke out on the 10th floor.

“That fire was right next door to my apartment,” he said. “If I lost my artwork in there, I lost my artwork. I’ve collected a lot of native artwork over the last few years.”

Another resident said he was sleeping in his unit on the 18th floor when the fire alarm went off.

“I started smelling smoke, looked out my door, I could even see some smoke in the hallway,” he said. “Right now there’s gonna be a lot of water damage and a lot of smoke damage.”

A May 2014 fire at View Towers quickly spread from a ninth-floor suite and caused significant fire and water damage and forced more than 100 residents out of their homes for several months.

Officials are still determining how many residents could be displaced from Friday’s fire as damages are being assessed. Early estimates are that up to nine apartments could be affected.

Atkinson said the department was aware of the 2014 fire when battling the blaze on Friday.

He said fire crews were sent up two staircases carrying hoses and were able to knock down the blaze from the inside out, pushing fire debris and water out of the building.

The 2014 fire was fought from the outside, he said, but Friday’s was fought from within.

Investigators are continuing to look for the cause of Friday’s fire.

“We got to the fire quickly and had a co-ordinated attack,” Atkinson said.

dkloster@timescolonist.com

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