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Massive fish plant fire forces evacuations in Newfoundland

Massive fish plant fire forces evacuations in Newfoundland

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 10:40 AM - A massive fire at a fish plant in the Newfoundland town of Bay de Verde prompted a state of emergency widespread evacuations as thick smoke blanketed the coastal community Monday.

Though the state of emergency has been lifted, allowing residents to return to some 300 homes that had been evacuated, the fish plant is all but gutted, dealing a terrible blow to the livelihood of that community, and others nearby.

"This morning there's quite a sharp contrast to yesterday. It's such a sunny, calm morning, and the devastation that you see when you go down to the site … we're just going to have to pick up the pieces and move forward," Bay de Verde Mayor Gerard Murphy told CBC Tuesday.

Firefighters from several different departments battled the flames Monday, amid strong winds that made the process more difficult.

Making things more complicated was the presence of a large ammonia tank on the site.

Though no homes were endangered by the flames, Monday's winds blew the smoke toward residential parts of the community, likely requiring residents to check for snow damage.

Still, firefighters prevailed, though the plant is totally out of commission. Owned by the Quinlan Brothers, some 700 people would work there in a typical season, raising questions over where this year's catch will be processed.

"It's going to be a big blow," Bay de Verde crab fisherman Derrick Keats told CBC.


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