Half of the tenants of the Craigflower Road property should be able to move back in by April 27 (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Fire damage to Esquimalt building leaves some tenants out for at least six months

Structural damage has barred half of the tenants from returning, while others might move back sooner

The building that caught fire in Esquimalt on April 7 will stay partially vacant for up to a year.

The apartment building at 866 Craigflower Rd. was the site of a fatal fire that killed one resident. The fourth floor was the most badly damaged by smoke and fire, while the bottom three floors faced water damage.

READ MORE: Remembering Judith Rose Burke

For the past week and a half the property manager, Belmont Properties, has worked with the Esquimalt Fire Department, the Victoria Police Department, the Township of Esquimalt, the province, BC Housing and the Canadian Red Cross to assess the damage, and find temporary housing for the tenants.

ALSO READ: Volunteers find cat who escaped fatal Esquimalt fire

“As far as I know now, half of the building won’t be occupiable for six months to a year,” said Sara Jansen, emergency program manager for the Township of Esquimalt. “For the other half, tenants might be able to move in on the 27th.”

Jansen said that Belmont Properties had to take a look at any potential structural damage and air quality in the building.

ALSO READ: Esquimalt apartment fire caused by human error

“The air quality test showed that there’s asbestos in some parts,” Jansen said. “And there’s some significant structural damage on part of the building; even when you drive by you can see it.”

In the meantime the tenants of the 47 units have been given temporary housing. So far, Belmont Properties has found vacant apartments for all but six of the tenants who won’t be able to return to their units any time soon; they will be paying the same rental rate as before.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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