Firefighters continued to combat hotspots Thursday at the Plaza Hotel fire at 603 Pandora Ave. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Ontario woman says missing caretaker in downtown Victoria fire is her stepson

Audrey Draeger said she has not been in contact with Michael Draeger since 2016

A woman in Ontario said the caretaker who has gone missing since the major fire at the Plaza Hotel in downtown Victoria is her stepson.

Audrey Draeger of Thunder Bay, Ont. said Michael Draeger is the son of her late husband, Ed Draeger.

Draeger said she only just found out about the fire after receiving calls from media. Police have not contacted her yet and have yet to verify any information about Michael Draeger.

Draeger said she last spoke with Michael in 2016 because Michael’s father was ill and she wanted them to say they love each other over the phone, which they did.

READ MORE: Former coworker finds it strange that caretaker is missing after fire

“He’s a real loner, very much to himself,” Draeger said. “He was a very standoff-ish boy…I think he had a girlfriend at one time but I really don’t know.”

Michel loved working with his hands and enjoyed fishing, Draeger said. She is hoping he is away on some sort of fishing trip but said she has no way to contact him and see if he is ok. The two of them used to keep in touch through e-mail and he often sent her photos of things he was working on.

“He was an artist,” Draeger said. “He made this fence out of oak and he chiselled the whole thing. It was beautiful.”

Draeger used to send Michael Christmas packages with stollen bread, a traditional German treat. She said she and Michael’s family in Ontario are very worried about him. Draeger said many of them are thinking Michael is dead.

“I cried yesterday and the whole family couldn’t go to sleep,” Draeger said. “We’re all worried about him.”

The last time Draeger saw Michael was in Victoria, about 10 years ago she said. He had been living there for quite some time already. It was also the only time Draeger met Michael in person.

Victoria Police have yet to hear any news of Michael Drager and his whereabouts. He was known to sometimes occupy the hotel, as well as the chrome Airstream trailer in the hotel’s back alley.

“He had all these dreams to fix it up,” Draeger said. “We loaned him $3,000 to go and buy the Airstream.”

The Victoria Fire Department reported that they don’t believe anyone was in the 603 Pandora Ave. building when it caught fire, but are concerned for the whereabouts of Michael.

READ ALSO: 4 million gallons of water used on downtown Victoria fire so far

After the Plaza Hotel shut down in 2013, Michael was kept on as a live-in caretaker. He lived on the third floor of the building, but his stepmother said she believes he had a workshop in the basement.

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.

A former coworker of Michael’s, Wayne Kainciems, said he is close to 60 years old and doesn’t carry a cell phone or have social media accounts.

B. Woodward, who owns the neighbouring Cherry Bomb Toys, told Black Press Media 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.”

Anyone with information on Michael Draeger is asked to contact the Victoria Police Department’s non-emergency line at 250-995-7654.

– With files from Nicole Crescenzi

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

New Shuswap licensed child-care spaces receive funding

B.C. government announces $70,000 to support facilities in Salmon Arm and Sicamous

Police, victim services aim to help seniors see through scams

Salmon Arm seniors groups host public meeting on avoiding online and telephone scams and fraud

In photos: Frisky grebes return to Salmon Arm Bay

Claude Rioux captures and sounds of Western grebe courting

First Nations group takes up biosolids protest

Online call to action asks Secwepemc to stand against and stop the dumping of biosolid

VIDEO: Showers are back in the forecast

Temperatures are expected to drop, paired with clouds and rain

Hergott: Reintroducing photo radar

The reintroduction of photo radar without talking about photo radar

B.C. man killed in logging accident ‘would have done anything for anyone’

Wife remembers 43-year old Petr Koncek, father of two children

COLUMN: The view is worth the climb

Reflections on Summerland’s Giants Head Grind and marital commitment

Ottawa spending $24.5M to research on health benefits, risks of pot use

$390,000 will fund two cannabis public awareness

Column: NDP’s labour overhaul unfairly benefits unions

Notes from the Legislature by Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo

Crackdown on money laundering does not include federal public inquiry: minister

An independent report commissioned concluded $7.4 billion was laundered in B.C. last year

Most Read