A massive fire at the 100-year-old Peter Pan Seafoods’ Port Moller, Alaska-based salmon processing facility will cause the plant to close its doors for the 2017 season.
The fire at the plant broke out around midnight August 16, and burned into the morning, officials said.
Power, running water and Internet connections were down in the remote community.
Up to ten boats that deliver fish to the plant tied off to the section of the main dock that was burning and used their hoses to spray directly on the spreading fire. But neither those boats nor the plant workers on the dock were having any luck containing the blaze.
Plant workers used a fire suppression system, water lines, and hoses to battle the blaze. But these efforts proved no match for the fire fueled by old, dry timbers from the hundred-year old buildings.
“(The efforts) went on for several hours before it just got so intense. And now you’re down to where there’s fuel and there’s ammonia tanks and lines, and it gets to the point where it starts being very dangerous to be around, and there was no way to keep fighting it,” said Bob Murphy a dish and fame fishery management biologist.
On Wednesday, August 16, Peter Pan crews cut the dock away from the shore to contain the fire, and it appears the remaining warehouses and bunkhouses on shore were spared damage.
While Maruha Nichiro-owned Peter Pan did not list the cause of the fire, it said “damage from the fire is extensive enough to halt operations for the remainder of the 2017 season.”
All crew and personnel are reported safe and uninjured, Peter Pan said.
Peter Pan claimed land at Port Moller in 1917 and began building the cannery there, which is open from May till September, according to its company website. Peter Pan Port Moller could process about a quarter-million pounds of salmon a day, primarily sockeye, shipping it out as frozen fillets or H&G.