Roads were closed, nearby buildings have been evacuated and city hall has shut down. One wall has partially collapsed at the old hotel. The massive tower of smoke was visible from as far away as Washington state. Major crowds of onlookers formed on the streets surrounding the hotel, which were closed off to traffic by emergency officials. Investigators said crews first discovered flames in the basement of the building with heavy smoke conditions on all floors. The department deployed three aerial trucks, a rescue truck and a battalion as well as three command officers. 34 firefighters were actively battling the blaze.
“The alarm went off around five o’clock or so, so we scuttled out of the building as quick as possible,” said a guest at the hotel. The City of Victoria warned residents that air quality downtown was poor and advised people to stay away from the area. “There’s a lot of smoke everywhere, it’s insane. Don’t come down here if you don’t have to because it’s not good for the lungs.” There were no reports of anyone suffering injuries. The blaze was contained from spreading to nearby buildings.