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Covered Bridge Potato Chips Factory in Waterville, N.B., destroyed by fire

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Firefighters from several departments rushed to battle a fire on Friday at the Covered Bridge Chips Factory in Waterville, N.B.

The call came in a 5:45 p.m., said Roy Reid, the deputy chief for the Hartland Fire Department.

“I called Woodstock for tankers, and I called a total of nine departments when everyone got here. We had crews from Florenceville, then the crews from Woodstock as backup, because our guys would get tired after a while.”

Reid said crews were on scene over night and are still on scene Saturday fighting hot spots. 

According to the company’s website, the business was launched by Matt and Ryan Albright in 2004 and has spread to markets all over North America.

The company grows 500 acres of dark, russet potatoes year round.

Patricia Kinney is a worker at the factory, she said she was devastated when she heard about the fire.

“I’m feeling really bad. When I first found one last night I cried, and cried, and cried. I love all my workers there. I love working there.”

Emergency crews at the scene of the Covered Bridge Potato Chips Factory in Waterville, N.B. (Sarah Plowman/CTV News)

On Saturday, Premier Blaine Higgs, Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Margaret Johnson, and Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Greg Turner, who is also minister responsible for Opportunities New Brunswick, released a joint statement on the fire saying in part:

“Our thoughts are with the employees, their families and members of the surrounding communities who will be affected by this heartbreaking loss.”

“This is a major employer in the region and a devastating loss for the company’s owners, their employees, and families. Covered Bridge, which started production in 2009, has been a tremendous presence in the community and has helped to boost the local economy as a growing business and a tourism draw.”

Emergency crews at the scene of the Covered Bridge Potato Chips Factory in Waterville, N.B. (Sarah Plowman/CTV News)

According to the statement, there were not any reported injuries and the government said they are on the ground working with the company and are providing whatever assistance is available.

“It’s a fairly big plant for an area the size of Hartland. The Albright family has had great success with their Covered Bridge Potato Chip Company and were really devastated for them,” said the Mayor of nearby Hartland, Tracey DeMerchant.

DeMerchant said the fire is a devastating loss for the community.

“A huge loss. Anytime that an industry would be affected by fire like this it would be a devastating loss for them, for their employees, for their own family business.”

She said the town will be reaching out to support the family and company in the coming days.

“All we can do as a community, as a mayor and council, we will currently support in the ways that we can and we will be reaching out as soon as the time is appropriate.”

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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