Matane | Barely closed, the Les Fruits de mer de l’Est factory is engulfed in flames

A major fire broke out at the Les Fruits de l’Est shrimp processing plant, barely ten days after the announcement of its permanent closure.

Images posted on social networks showed the imposing plume of smoke emanating from it. Several fire trucks and other first responders were on scene.

The Sûreté du Québec indicates that it received a call to assist first responders around 6:30 p.m., but none of its agents came to the scene.

Around 8:45 p.m., the blaze was still active, while 35 firefighters from Matane and the MRC de la Matanie were still trying to contain the flames that would have started inside the building.

The electricity had been cut off at the scene three-quarters of an hour earlier, Matane Mayor Eddy Métivier said on the phone, the sound of sirens ringing out in the background.

A forklift could be the cause of the blaze, he said. “We are really saddened by all of this. It’s one more tragedy that falls on our heads in addition to the closure (of the factory). »

A sector of Matane evacuated

A Matane resident contacted by The Press claims to have seen activity at the plant this week.

Questioned about this, its president, Jean-Pierre Chamberland, confirmed that a few “people from the administration” were working there this week. However, there was “no activity and no one in the factory” when the fire broke out, he said.

On Radio-Canada, Jean-Pierre Chamberland indicated that a sector of rue Matane-sur-Mer had been evacuated due to the presence of ammonia in the burning building, a product used in particular for refrigeration.

On March 18, the Danish company that owns the Les Fruits de mer de l’Est factory, Royal Greenland, announced that it was closing down what was the oldest shrimp processing factory still in operation. .

The fall in the Nordic shrimp fishing quota, labor shortages and low prices in the seafood market are among the reasons cited by the company, 100% of which is owned by the Greenlandic government .

The mayor of Matane, Eddy Métivier, spoke of “a total surprise” when the Danish company had recently invested millions to add lobster and crab processing to its activities, in addition to building 71 housing units for its temporary workers.

The closure caused 55 employees to lose their jobs as well as at least 104 temporary foreign workers.

Even if it is fished off the coast of Sept-Îles, in the Esquiman channel and around Anticosti Island, the northern shrimp is often called Matane shrimp, because it is in this town of Bas-Saint -Laurent that the first processing plant was set up. Two other factories remain in operation, in Rivière-au-Renard and L’Anse-au-Griffon, in Gaspésie.


Leave a Comment