New Brunswick

Hundreds of Cape Bald Packers workers back to work after February fires

Cape Bald Packers has resumed lobster processing in Cap-Pelé, N.B., this week in spite of two devastating fires in February.

About 450 workers returned to work in Cap-Pelé, N.B., on Monday

Patricia Fagan, a foreign worker from Jamaica, is one of the roughly 450 Cape Bald Packers workers who returned to work Monday after two separate plant fires in February. (Radio-Canada)

Cape Bald Packers has resumed lobster processing in Cap-Pelé this week in spite of two devastating fires in February.

About 450 workers, many smiling and hugging, were back on the job Monday.

Patricia Fagan of Jamaica is one of the foreign workers happy to return.

"When we heard about the fire, we were, like, crying — we don't have our next work, our next job to go on to. But our boss took us back," she told Radio-Canada.

"Everybody was so happy."

Fire wiped out the company's lobster processing plant in Cap-Pelé, N.B., on Feb. 24. The operation employed about 500 people.

The Cap-Pelé plant was wiped out by fire in late February. (Facebook/Village de Cap-Pelé)

The company's lobster plant in Richibucto Village burned down on Feb. 7. About 150 people worked at that plant.

An investigation to determine the cause of the fires is ongoing.

The Cap-Pelé plant will only process lobster this season, according to company spokesperson Joanne Losier.

She said other "partner" plants in New Brunswick and elsewhere in Canada will pick up the crab.

Employees at the plant, including foreign workers, process and pack lobster to be shipped around the world.

Cap-Pelé Mayor Serge Léger was relieved to hear the news after seeing the loss affected many families in the village.

"You see that they are good together, and that they will go up again," Léger said, speaking French.

Company spokesperson Joanne Losier says the Cap-Pelé plant will only process lobster this season. (Michèle Brideau/Radio-Canada)

Losier said not every employee from the Richibucto Village plant will work in Cap-Pelé.

"Employees of Richibouctou-Village, because the reconstruction will not be done this summer, there are factories in the region around Richibouctou that offered them a job," she said, speaking French.

"To our knowledge, the very, very large majority have found a position in a factory in this region."

With files from Radio-Canada