Montreal

Knowlton bands together to help Brome Lake Ducks employees after fire

The residents of Knowlton in the Eastern Townships are rallying together to help employees of Pekin duck breeder Brome Lake Ducks after a fire left about 100 of them out of work.

Crowdfunding campaign has already collected more than $12,000 for employees

In January, a fire ravaged another Brome Lake Ducks facility and killed 50,000 ducks. (CBC)

The residents of Knowlton in the Eastern Townships are rallying together to help employees of Pekin duck breeder Brome Lake Ducks after a fire left about 100 of them out of work.

The fire started in the early morning of July 16 and burned through the production facility and office.

No ducks were injured but the company's employees feared layoffs.

The Pekin duck is the most widely bred commercial duck, according to the U.K. Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International. (Lydia Yasuda/Associated Press)
Knowlton resident Reg Gauthier decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign to help the workers get back on their feet. The campaign has already collected more than $12,000. 

"I decided there would be a lot more focus on the tragedy and a lot less focus on the people, the actual lives that are being affected by this," Gauthier said. "I decided to give them a voice."

Many employees think of Brome Lake Ducks as more than a job.

"We were off this week and it's very hard to take because it's our home. Our second home," said employee Jessie Beaudin.

A fire in January at the Brome Lake Ducks farm near Racine, Que. caused an estimated $3 million in damage and killed 50,000 ducks. 

Employee Jessie Beaudin said there are no words to explain how thankful she is for people's generosity. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

with files from Sarah Leavitt

now