Grand Bank Seafoods Fire

A fire at the fish plant in Grand Bank just didn’t want to go out last week. 

Firefighters put out a blaze at Grand Bank Seafoods over the suppertime hour last Monday, June 10, only to see it flare up again the following morning.

Luckily, according to Acting Fire Chief Tony Snook of the Grand Bank Volunteer Fire Department, everyone made it out of the facility and there were no injuries in either of the incidents.

Chief Snook acknowledged the age of the plant and the way the facility was constructed – new pieces were added on to the building over time – made it a difficult fire to fight.

He indicated the blaze was believed to have started in a room containing shipping containers.

The chief indicated the department’s counterpart in Fortune also helped put down the fire.

“When it got down into the structure, it made it even more difficult because it was very hard to get at.”

After battling the blaze for several hours, it was thought the fire had been extinguished, but an early-morning flare-up around 6:30 a.m. brought firefighters back to the scene for several more hours, finally leaving at 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

“They had a fire watch on there (overnight) and one of the gentlemen that called me (Tuesday) morning said that it seemed like, when the wind came up, the smoke started to get a little more intense.

“We end up cutting into some roof structure and doing what they call ventilation trenching to get at the deep seat that the fire had moved into.”

Chief Snook said the fire set off the sprinkler system and there was a fair bit of water damage throughout the facility.

“Amount-wise, I wouldn’t have any idea, but there is fire extensive damage on the far end of the plant.”


Plant workers in the community were concerned the fire would shutter the clam processing facility for some time last week, but that doesn’t necessarily seem to be the case.

A spokesperson for Nova Scotia-based Clearwater Seafoods Ltd., of which Grand Bank Seafoods is a division, said Wednesday that the company was still working to ascertain the full extent of the damage, cause and reparation costs.

“From what we can determine so far, product inventory and processing areas were not seriously affected and we expect little or no long-term disruption to plant operations or customer service.”

Meanwhile, Grand Bank MHA Darin King said in a press release Friday he’s optimistic that production will resume within weeks.

He said Clearwater chief operating officer Eric Roe told him the company would start to move forward with the necessary repairs to get the plant back in production almost immediately.

The MHA indicated the first priority is to get the production area up to standards and operational before moving on to the office area. Office staff will set up temporarily in the Grand Bank Municipal Centre.

A new release from the Burin Peninsula District RCMP last week said the joint police and Office of the Fire Commissioner investigation determined the fire to be “accidental in nature.”

Paul Herridge 
Published on June 21, 2011