Trailer occupied by missing Plaza Hotel caretaker, not evidence says VicPD

Mike Draeger is still considered missing, not a suspect

One man is still missing months after a massive fire tore through the Plaza Hotel early May.

Mike Draeger, the caretaker of the hotel, was known to sometimes occupy the hotel and the chrome Airstream trailer parked in the hotel’s back alley.

On June 28, Victoria Police confirmed the fire was arson. Following reports the Airstream trailer was sold by the owner of the towing company responsible for its removal, Police Chief Del Manak says the vehicle was not considered evidence in the investigation.

RELATED: Victoria Police confirm downtown Plaza Hotel fire was arson

“Any evidence that we feel would have been critical to the investigation, we would have seized,” said Manak, while at an event regarding back to school road safety.

Although he isn’t directly involved in the investigation, Manak is briefed on the details regularly.

“[The trailer has] been sold and it’s moved on, it wasn’t required as a part of the key pieces of evidence,” said Manak.

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

Details of the arson have not been released, but earlier comments from Victoria Fire Department Chief Paul Bruce alluded to the possibility of a fire accelerant in the building’s basement, saying that the fire was “either burning undetected for a long time, or there was rapid fire spread.”

Both VicPD and the BC Coroners Service say no human remains were located in the debris.

According to Manak, Draeger is not considered a suspect at this point and is still considered missing.

“It’s kind of a bit of a unique situation that we haven’t dealt with all that often,” he said. “When you’ve got an arson of that magnitude and then a missing person … [it] has been a bit of a challenge but we’re doing the best we can and continue to follow some active leads.”

There are currently no suspects in the arson investigation, added Manak.

– With files from Nicole Crescenzi



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

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The May 6 fire that engulfed the Old Plaza hotel has since been deemed suspicious and the investigation is on going. (Victoria Police)

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