Fire destroys Covered Bridge Potato Chip in Hartland

Fire destroyed the Covered Bridge Potato Chip factory near Hartland Friday evening, March 1.

Fire crews from Hartland and the surrounding communities battled the blaze for several hours but couldn’t save the plant.

Following the major fire in the early evening, Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement warning of potentially elevated pollution levels in Waterville and areas northeast of Carleton County.

The statement explained the fire may cause significant concentrations of potentially toxic smoke and pollutants to spread downwind of the plant to the northeast.

“Anyone near or downwind from this area is advised to stay indoors until conditions improve or until instructed otherwise,” the statement advised.

s the Hartland Fire Department, with mutual aid from Woodstock, Lakeville and Florenceville-Bristol, battled the blaze shortly after 6 p.m., flames and thick black smoke rose from the roof of the plant located in Waterville, near the Trans Canada exit to Hartland.

The air quality statement urged anyone in the area to adhere to instructions from local authorities.

“Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath,” officials said in the air-quality statement. “Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.”

As firefighters battled the blaze, the RCMP blocked access to Alwright Court, which, in addition to the plants, is home to an Irving gas station and convenience store, a Burger King and Subway restaurant.

While details are unavailable at this time, the fire destroyed the locally owned potato chip plant, which serves as one of the Hartland area’s significant employers.

Residents of Hartland, famous for the longest covered bridge in the world, celebrated Covered Bridge Potato Chips as a home-grown success story and one of Carleton County’s essential employers.

Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun