Fire destroys Covered Bridge Potato Chip in Hartland New Brunswick

Residents of Hartland devastated over loss of an essential employer in the region.
Covered Bridge Potato Chips Factory Fire 2024
Government of New Brunswick Facebook

Fire destroyed the Covered Bridge Potato Chip factory near Hartland Friday evening, March 1.

Fire crews from Hartland and the surrounding communities battled the blaze for several hours but couldn't save the plant.

Following the major fire in the early evening, Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement warning of potentially elevated pollution levels in Waterville and areas northeast of Carleton County.

The statement explained the fire may cause significant concentrations of potentially toxic smoke and pollutants to spread downwind of the plant to the northeast.

“Anyone near or downwind from this area is advised to stay indoors until conditions improve or until instructed otherwise,” the statement advised.

The Hartland Fire Department, with mutual aid from Woodstock, Lakeville and Florenceville-Bristol, battled the blaze shortly after 6 p.m., flames and thick black smoke rose from the roof of the plant located in Waterville, near the Trans Canada exit to Hartland.

The air quality statement urged anyone in the area to adhere to instructions from local authorities.

“Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath”' officials said in the air-quality statement. “Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.”

As firefighters battled the blaze, the RCMP blocked access to Alwright Court, which, in addition to the plants, is home to an Irving gas station and convenience store, a Burger King and Subway restaurant.

While details are unavailable at this time, the fire destroyed the locally owned potato chip plant, which serves as one of the Hartland area's significant employers.

Residents of Hartland, famous for the longest covered bridge in the world, celebrated Covered Bridge Potato Chips as a home-grown success story and one of Carleton County's essential employers.

Following the news of the devastating fire, a joint statement was issues by New Brunswick 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:

“Minister Turner, Minister Johnson, and I are saddened and deeply concerned about the fire that has destroyed the Covered Bridge Potato Chip facility in Hartland. 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.

“We are thankful that there have not been any reported injuries and grateful for the aid provided by local first responders who battled not only fire but also frigid temperatures. Our government is on the ground working with the company and we’re providing whatever assistance is available.”

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