Cape Breton Premium Seafoods plant destroyed by fire

A massive overnight fire destroyed a seafood plant in Arichat, N.S., early Friday.

Crews still battling blaze in Arichat

A seafood plant in Arichat, N.S., was destroyed by fire overnight.

Premium Seafoods in Cape Breton caught fire around midnight. Rodney Leblanc, deputy fire chief on Isle Madame, said his crews arrived at 12:30 a.m.

"There was an extensive amount of smoke and maybe 10 or 15 minutes later the flames started coming through the building and it was fully engulfed in flames," he said Friday morning.

Four other departments rushed to help and fought the flames overnight.

"I’ve been in the fire service for 20 years and this is the worst I’ve seen yet," Leblanc said.

Propane tanks were visible near the building, forcing the firefighters to work cautiously in case of an explosion.

He said crews are still going through the rubble extinguishing hot spots Friday morning.

Employed 60 to 70 people

Edgar Samson, president of Premium Seafoods Group, said he was saddened by the loss of the groundfish facility and retail market.

He said the facility employed 60 to 70 people. The company has two other facilities that were not damaged.

"Although this is a setback for our company, Premium Seafoods Group remains committed to its community and its people and will continue to move forward in the industry," Samson said.

Mel Sampson saw the fire on his way to work at the restaurant he owns, the Island Nest and Lounge.

"I thought at first it was a heavy fog, but it turned out to be smoke. There was a really strong smell of something burning and it was very hard to see," he said.

The roads toward the area of the fire were blocked off.

Residents are being asked to reduce water consumption until further notice.

No one was injured and the plant appears to have been empty. There's no word on the cause of the blaze.

Donald MacLellan posted video on Facebook of the blaze ripping through the building.

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