Nfld. & Labrador

Fire destroys St. Mary's Bay fish plant

The Hickey & Sons Fisheries plant in O'Donnell's, a small community southeast of Placentia, has been gutted by fire.

Fire chief says plant was a total write-off

The fish plant in St. Mary's Bay was gutted by fire early Friday morning. (Katie Breen/CBC)

The Hickey & Sons Fisheries Ltd. fish plant in O'Donnell's, St. Mary's Bay, was destroyed by a massive fire Friday.

Chief Tony Daley of the St. Joseph's Fire Department said he got the call just after 1 a.m. 

Crews worked into the afternoon, pumping water from the ocean.

Daley said when crews arrived, the building was too dangerous to enter; the roof had collapsed and there were combustible materials inside.

He said that even in 80 km/h winds, St. Joseph's and Admirals Beach volunteer departments were thankfully able to keep the blaze from reaching a large diesel tank not far from docked boats. 

Nobody was hurt in the fire and no vessels were damaged, but the building was destroyed.

"It's going to be big in this part of the bay," said St. John's town clerk Tony Reardon.

Fire crews were still battling the flames as of 8 a.m. Friday morning. (Katie Breen/CBC)

"They were steady employers, you know. People will have to leave, I guess, if they're going to work in plants. Unless the plant gets rebuilt pretty quickly."

According to people on site Friday, an estimated 60 people work at the plant in O'Donnell's and now many of them might not qualify for employment insurance.

Hickey & Sons Fisheries wouldn't talk about the fire Friday, saying it was a sad day for their family, the surrounding communities and the workers. 

The plant processed mainly cod this year but has done whelk in the past and until recently, made fries for Ziggy Peelgoods. 

The cause of the fire has not been determined. 

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