New Brunswick

Destruction of lobster storage house won't affect Deer Island jobs

The general manager of Paturel International on Deer Island says the company will be "business as usual" after a storage building burned to the ground Friday night.

Tank house that could hold up to 80,000 pounds of lobster burned down Friday

Stuart McKay, general manager of Pasturel International on Deer Island, says no jobs will be lost after a storage facility burned down on Friday. (CBC)

The general manager of Paturel International on Deer Island says the company will be "business as usual" after a storage building burned to the ground Friday night.

The tank house was used for overflow lobster grading and for storing up to 80,000 pounds of live lobster until later in the season, when stock ran short.

No lobsters were being stored in the tank house at the time of the fire. Constructed in 2002, it was typically used only from November to mid-February and from May to mid-August.

"It is a secondary operation for us," Stuart McKay, the manager said. "It is not our main operating facility. We use it seasonally, particularly for the Canadian lobster season. Luckily, it was sitting unused at this time."

The fire was reported to Deer Island's volunteer fire department just before 5 p.m. Friday, and crews remained on the scene until Saturday afternoon.

Business as usual

McKay said nobody's jobs are in danger as a result of the tank house burning down. The fire will likely not affect production either.

"We do have all intentions of putting the building back the way it was," he said. "We will find solutions in the interim until we get this facility back up and standing, or the equivalent of, on the island."

A fire razed a lobster tank facility on Deer Island. (Submitted by Brian Leslie)

He said it is too early to predict what the solution will be but Paturel is comfortable it will not affect the season.

"We may have to go to another operation and rent or hire them to do some functions that were done here for us. But we're good problem solvers, so we'll be OK."

Fire trucks from surrounding communities like St. George, Blacks Harbour and Fundy Bay sent trucks by ferry to assist.

McKay, also a volunteer firefighter, assisted in this aspect as well.

The remains of a lobster tank house on Deer Island, after it burned down. (Ben Silcox/CBC)

"When we arrived the building had gone from the 30 minutes from when it was reported to fully engulfed. ... It was certainly a building that wasn't going to be saved and we were more focused on protecting the surrounding areas and the woods and properties adjacent to it."

McKay said he was grateful to the nearby fire departments, and also to the supporting members of Deer Island's community — the island's general store supplied water and food for the firefighters during the blaze.

The cause of the fire hasn't been determined.