Spencer Castle, a heritage building in Victoria, was damaged during a fire early Thursday morning.
The building on Cook Street caught fire before 6 a.m. Twenty-three firefighters responded to the call.
Victoria Fire Department Battalion Chief Greg Batters said there was “significant damage” to the castle.
“I was worried that we were going to lose the whole thing originally because of the amount of smoke but we had crews on each level working and just being cautious not to go through the floor,” Batters said.
Spencer Castle was built in 1911, more than a century ago. Up until last month, however, it was still being used by residents of condos in the same complex.
“I smelled a lot of smoke,” said Betty Poag, a resident of one of the three condos. “We smelled smoke even in [our condo] building or the hallway as we were leaving and I couldn’t see any, couldn’t see the flame.”
Poag said she got a call about the building catching fire around 6:30 a.m. When she went outside to look at the damage, she couldn’t see much as it t was too dark. All Poag could smell was smoke.
“It was really, really beautiful and it was very warm and cozy,” she said. “It was just, it was a pleasure to be in and all I could think of was ‘please no.'”
The building was used by the residents in the condominium complex for social gatherings and extra guest bedrooms. It had temporarily been closed for upgrades to the electrical wiring to minimize fire risk.
“It’s been shared by all of the owners and their families,” Poag explained. “There’s been a lot of events there, there’s been weddings, there’s been parties.”
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.