DEER ISLAND, N.B. — Fire has destroyed a major lobster processing plant on Deer Island in southern New Brunswick.
Images posted to social media show a huge blaze early Thursday morning at the Paturel International facility on Northern Harbour Road, which employs about 100 people.
RCMP say employees reported the fire at 2:20 a.m.
"All people inside were able to leave the building unharmed, however the warehouse and packing plant were completely destroyed by the fire," Sgt. Chris Henderson said in a statement.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Provincial Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet said it's a major blow to the area.
"This time of the year they're extremely busy and they have a lot of employees who are working," he said. "They're processing lobster from Maine at this point in time and they've been having a very good season."
The plant ships whole lobster and lobster products around the world.
Doucet said the company plays a major role in the seafood industry.
"This company has been very innovative in securing markets in the European Union and the Asian markets," he said. "Hopefully, they're going to be looking at rebuilding. It's devastating for them to have such a huge loss, but I hope everybody will rise above on this."
Doucet said the provincial government will do whatever it can to help the employees and the company.
The company's live lobster facility was not affected by the fire and will resume normal production, the company said.
However, the lobster processing that was handled in the burned building will be moved to one of the company's 12 facilities across North America.
Company officials issued a statement saying they were grateful no one was hurt.
"We would like to thank the first responders for their bravery and quick response. We would also like to thank the local community and our customers for their support and understanding during this time."
The Canadian Press