PEI

Fire destroys fish plant in Murray Harbour, P.E.I.

About 40 firefighters from several Prince Edward Island departments rushed to Murray Harbour Friday afternoon to fight a blaze at the Machon's Point Fisheries Co-op.

Cause of fire is unclear, says Murray Harbour Fire Department deputy chief

Firefighters cross in front of burned-out building.
What's left of the Machon's Point Fisherman's Co-op ice house and mechanic's shop in Murray Harbour, P.E.I., after a fire Friday afternoon. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

About 40 firefighters from several Prince Edward Island departments rushed to Murray Harbour Friday afternoon to fight a blaze at the Machon's Point Fisherman's Co-op.

Murray Harbour Fire Department deputy chief Allan Glover told CBC News it's unclear what caused the fire.

"We have no idea, like, the origin of it or what took place," he said.

Glover said no one was injured.

He said the department got a call about the fire at 3:30 p.m. AT and called in help from the Belfast, Montague and Murray River fire departments.

"When we got to the hall, we could see the smoke rolling in the sky then," he said.

The building was engulfed when they arrived, Glover said.

A building is engulfed in red flames, lots of black smoke.
Part of the fish plant engulfed in flames Friday afternoon. (Rebecca Pineau)

Rebecca Pineau is staying at Ocean Acres Campground nearby.

"There was an explosion which we heard from the campground. It was around 3:50," she said.

Glover said that was likely just propane tanks or acetylene torches, which are things you'd expect to find in a facility like that.

"There was no major explosion," he said.

People in the area said they could see smoke for kilometres.

The electricity was out in nearby communities while crews fought the blaze. Maritime Electric was reporting 1,356 households without power as of 5:10 p.m., but shortly after that, the number was reduced to 15.

The area's member of Parliament, Lawrence MacAulay, tweeted his sympathy for the plant's workers as well as the fishing boats landing catches there. 

As of 6 p.m., firefighters were continuing to hose down the ruins, and using heavy equipment to knock down what was left of the building.

The company was established in 1987. At peak season, 45 people work at the facility. 

With files from Brian Higgins

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