Fire destroys Hickey & Sons Fisheries plant in Newfoundland

Published on
October 29, 2018

The Hickey & Sons Fisheries plant in O’Donnell’s, St. Mary’s Bay, Newfoundland was destroyed by fire the morning of Friday, 26 October. 

The fire alarm was reported at 1 a.m. on the evening of Thursday, 25 October. Eleven hours later, crews from two fire departments were still pumping water on the flames from five lines laid into the ocean. The fire was aided by 80 kilometer-per-hour winds. The fire was too intense for firefighters to enter the building and had to be fought from the outside. 

The plant was a total write-off, according Chief Tony Daley of the St. Joseph's Fire Department. The business was owned by brothers Todd and Craig Hickey, whose family have owned it for 32 years.

The plant processed whelk and scallops last year and was processing cod this year. Workers were just a few weeks away from finishing the season.   

The company employed between 70 to 80 people and there is concern that the timing of the fire may prevent some workers from having enough hours to qualify for unemployment insurance.

Agnes Hearn had worked for at the plant for 10 years.

“We’re surely going to miss it,” Hearn told The St. John’s Telegram. “It put a lot of bread on everyone’s table out this way. It was a wonderful place to work. We were like family there.”

Her husband, Walter Hearn, chief of the Admiral’s Beach Fire Department, said it didn’t take long for the plant to burn because of all the flammable materials inside, including chemicals, propane tanks, and cardboard boxes.

The fire is being investigated, but locals report seeing lightning around the time the fire broke out.

Photo courtesy of The Post Millennial

Reporting from Eastern Canada

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