Fire crews from five departments fought an early-morning blaze in Sussex, N.B., on Sunday that destroyed a farm equipment business.

A captain with the Sussex Fire Department is the one who made the 911 call.

“The back part of the shop with whatever machinery is there is smoke covered so there's going to be some damage that way but it's all still standing,” said Sussex Fire Chief Harold Lowe.

Pam Arbing-Northrup's father started the company in 1965. She eventually took over the family business.

“We can't go in to see what has happened until the fire marshal gives us the ok,” she said. “It's only been the fire department people that have been out back into the building.”

The blaze is another blow to the community, which has seen its share of hard times lately. The potash plant closed in January, putting 430 people out of work. Now the 12 full-time employees are also without a job.  

“It's not as big of a blow, but it's still a blow to the community because we're a family business,” said Arbing-Northrup. “It's not all family that works here but we are all one big family.”

Glen Wood agrees. He brought donuts and muffins for both the firefighters and the business owners who have been on site since 6 a.m.

“This is devastating,” said Wood. “On top of the mine closing, I'm not so sure how much more this small town can handle.”

Nobody was inside when the fire started. The fire marshal and RCMP are investigating the cause.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis.