Fire damages Nova Scotia seafood operation, no injuries reported

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ARICHAT, N.S. — Fire has destroyed two buildings that were part of the Premier Seafoods facility in southern Cape Breton, crippling one of the largest employers in the area. A groundfish plant and retail market were destroyed in the blaze early Friday, but two other facilities were not affected, said company president Edgar Samson. The plant in Arichat typically employs more than 200 people in the peak of the season, but the buildings damaged by the fire employ between 60 and 70 workers. There were no reports of injuries. Fire crews from four local communities were involved in fighting the blaze, which was reported at 1 a.m. “I was a bit shocked and surprised. I heard the sirens through the evening,” said Victor David, the county councillor for the community. “Premier is the major employer on Isle Madame.” Premier Darrell Dexter issued a statement saying his thoughts and concerns are with the community. “I know that workers and their families are very concerned right now as there are still many unknowns,” Dexter said. “I want to assure people that the province will be there to make sure they have the support they need.” He said there are supports available through Service Canada and the Department of Community Services that can help eligible families get financial support. In the longer term, he said, the province will work with the employer and the area career resource centre to offer counselling, training, career planning, job search and skills upgrading. “The impact of this loss will be felt by many families in the community,” the premier said. “It is important for the region and the province to help the area overcome this incredible loss and rebuild as soon as possible.”

Organizations: Service Canada, Community Services

Geographic location: ARICHAT, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Isle Madame

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