Nfld. & Labrador

Generators will get residents through winter after fire at Charlottetown diesel plant

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro says customers will have enough electricity through the cold winter months.

NL Hydro plans to replace the plant after the winter

A fire at the Charlottetown diesel plant was spotted early Monday morning. (Merissa Burt)

Despite losing power in Charlottetown and Pinsent's Arm after a fire ripped through the diesel plant, community members and officials are saying the situation could have been worse.

The power has been restored, and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro says customers don't have to worry about electricity in the cold winter months, even without a plant. 

Volunteer firefighters were able to protect the substation and save mobile diesel generators, which, according to NL Hydro, can supply the community with all the power it needs. 

"[We] can't thank the volunteer fire department enough," said Dawn Dalley, Hydro's vice-president of regulatory affairs and corporate services. 

Dawn Dalley, NL Hydro's vice-president of regulatory affairs and corporate services, says customers don't have to worry about not having power. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Dalley said the company will also be sending another generator to the site just to make sure there is a backup. 

However, she said, most of the area's homes are heated by oil or wood, and more electricity is consumed in the summer months because of the shrimp plant. 

Concerns over shrimp plant 

The shrimp plant has about three more weeks until the end of the season, which Dalley said will not be a problem to supply.

The shrimp plant was on a lot of minds while NL Hydro was restoring power. Gilbert Linstead, general manager of the plant said there were about six truckloads of shrimp in storage. 

"The situation is stable. We did have some product in storage and we mobilized our trucks yesterday to get ready to take it out of there. We didn't have to do that," he told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning.

Crews put out the fire by about 9 a.m. Monday. (Lisa Dempster/Twitter)

Linstead said he was in communication with other processors to divert fishing boats to other communities if needed.

"I think overall it's a pretty positive story," he said.

The fire was noticed around 5:30 a.m NT on Monday morning. Crews had extinguished it by around 9 a.m. but the entire community of 285 residents were left without power. 

NL Hydro said it is still too early to tell how the fire started. There are crews on scene today who will be investigating the situation. 

The company said it plans on rebuilding but will wait until after the winter to replace the plant.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Labrador Morning

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