Deer Island lobster storage facility 'decimated' by fire

Deer Island lobster storage facility destroyed in fire

Fire destroyed a lobster storage plant on Deer Island on Friday night, despite efforts by volunteer fire departments from surrounding towns and villages that rushed to help battle the blaze.

The lobster tank house owned by Paturel International wasn't in use and no one was hospitalized, said Sean Morton, chief of the St. George Fire Department.

Fundy Bay, Blacks Harbour and St. George fire departments sent five trucks by ferry to assist Deer Island's fire crews from about 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Morton said Deer Island firefighters were still on scene "in one form or another" Saturday morning. He said RCMP and the fire marshal's office were also on scene.

"It was being used for storage at this time and it was completely destroyed," he said.

Looking to rebuild

The island in the Bay of Fundy falls within the constituency of MLA Rick Doucet, who is also minister of aquaculture and fisheries. He said he visited the site Saturday after keeping in touch with fire crews Friday night.

"It's gone. It's decimated," Doucet said by phone Saturday. "The surreal part of it is looking at it and saying we're lucky we didn't have any loss of lives. It's fortunate there's no product that was ready to be shipped."

Although small, the tank house was a major part of lobster fishing on Deer Island.

"It's a small population but the lobster fishery is very strong," he said. "Every single plant, every holding facility plays an integral role, especially when you're dealing with proximity to market."

While visiting the facility, he spoke with representatives of Paturel International, who he said are in communication with their insurance company and are "looking to rebuild."

Doucet will be meeting with the company later this week.

Deer Island fire department members were occupied with the fire Saturday and could not comment further.