'Huge loss': Tangier fish plant completely destroyed in fire

A fish plant in Tangier, N.S., was destroyed by fire on Wednesday. The flames also extended to a nearby building on the property.

Corey Beals, assistant chief of Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency, said firefighters were called to the scene at Abriel Fisheries at 368 Coopers Rd. around 11:55 a.m. Wednesday

He doesn't know if fish was being processed at the time, but Beals said there were at least one or two employees there. He said no one was injured.

"The first arriving crews were faced with a large commercial building, a fish plant, which had a working fire venting through the roof, and crews immediately went in defensive mode," Beals said.

The building is a "total loss," he said, and crews were still fighting the fire as of 4 p.m.

'They're going to be in shock'

Rev. Lorraine Otto, the Anglican rector of the Parish of Tangier, said Abriel is a place where you can buy fish year-round. Many parishioners at her church are employed at the plant, she said, and the fire is a "huge loss" for the community.

"Abriel's is incredibly generous in supporting the communities and all the churches in the area," she said, adding it not only employs many people but it also buys a lot of lobster from local fishermen.

"So unless the other plants can take up the slack, in the meantime it will be really difficult for people."

Otto said she is praying the community will be able to pull together and help one another.

"They're going to be in shock and I pray for the [Abriel] family, it is a family business," she said.

Beals said there were a dozen apparatus at the scene and 20 firefighters, a mixture of career and volunteer members. An investigation into the cause is expected.

"As you can imagine, when you have these types of commercial buildings with tin roofs, fire gets pancaked beneath and in order to get at the fire that's hidden and under the tin roof that has now since collapsed, we need to bring in an excavator," Beals said.

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