One week after a fire tore through the Victoria Plaza Hotel building the search for answers can finally begin.

Fire investigators, armed with cameras and assisted by heavy equipment, started to dig through the rubble trying to figure out what started the fire and if it was set on purpose.

The building’s caretaker, Mike Draeger, still hasn’t been seen since the fire broke out.

Sattva Spa owner Heidi Sherwood is also still waiting for answers. When the old hotel went up in flames Monday her dreams went with it — her business was so heavily damaged, she says it could be at least a year before she can reopen.

“Ceiling tiles all down from the massive water damage we had, walls all peeling, paint, water accumulating in the ceilings, bubbled, all the paint is coming off in all areas, floors are lifting and damaged,” Sherwood said.

After two years in business, Sherwood says the spa was just starting to hit its stride.

“We had just turned a corner last month we were just, the whole team was starting to feel inspired by kind of arriving so it is devastating to think of the amount of work that’s still ahead,” she said.

A few other businesses in the area remained closed Monday, but just next to Sherwood’s spa there is an open sign.

“We’re back and I’m glad to be back,” said Camouflage Victoria Manager Anton Shipley.

Shipley says his store has a little smoke damage but otherwise came out unscathed.

“Honestly a lot of the gear is designed to not hold scents so really we got as lucky as we could,” he said.

But he feels for his neighbours who were harder hit. And Heidi Sherwood says it’s that kind of caring and kindness from the community that has made all the difference.

“We got through and I got through last week because of that support and I really mean that,” she said.

She said several other spas in the city have offered to take on her employees until Sherwood can start her business back up.

She has had customers reach out as well, and has been able to accommodate some of them at her other spa, Sapphire on View Street.

It’s unclear how long the investigation will take.

April Lawrence