It will take at least two years to rebuild the Paturel lobster plant on Deer Island, N.B., that burned to the ground last week.
That's what employees were told Saturday morning during a meeting organized by Paturel management, said Paul Richardson, who worked at the plant and was at the meeting.
The processing and packaging plant was destroyed by a fire early Thursday morning, putting more than 100 people out of work.
Employees were told Saturday that the company does have adequate insurance to rebuild the plant, Richardson said.
Between cleaning up the damage and constructing a new plant, it will be two years before it is up and running again, Richardson said.
In the meantime, company executives told employees that they are working with other employers in the St. George area to find jobs for them, he said.
They also said they are working to release foreign workers from their contract with Paturel so they can look for work elsewhere, he said.
"They were quite upfront with the concerns that all of us had," Richardson said.
Richardson is retired, so can still rely on his pension to cover his expenses even though his income has now been cut in half.
"But for a number of the workers, they have no income and very meager bank accounts, so they are in a very precarious situation," he said.
Management at the Paturel lobster plant declined to comment Sunday, but a staff member said the company plans to issue a statement Monday.
The Office of the Fire Marshal is still investigating the cause of the fire.