The cause of the fire that burned down the Aboiteau Seafood Paradise restaurant and Aboiteau Fisheries fish market at the Aboiteau Wharf in Cap-Pelé, N.B., on Sunday is still under investigation.
The restaurant was a popular tourist destination and community gathering place, according to Anthony Azard, the CEO of Cap Acadie’s Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s a total loss for the business but also the whole community,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.
Cap-Acadie fire Chief Ronald Cormier told Global News that firefighters fought the blaze from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
He said no one was injured as the restaurant was closed for the season.
Between 2019 and 2022, the Cap-Acadie region, which includes Cap-Pelé, saw several businesses burned down due to arson.
These included Chez Camille, another seafood restaurant in Cap-Pelé that burned down in the spring of 2022, as well as M&M Cormier Fisheries’ smokehouse in 2021.
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Mario Cormier, the president of M&M Cormier Fisheries, said he had to lay off half of his employees as a result of the fire.
The smokehouse had been built just five years prior, and was built primarily to modernize his business.
He said the fire on the Aboiteau wharf stirred up painful memories, but he’s hopeful the cause of the fire wasn’t criminal.
“When a fire happens, people say, ‘Well, is it going to start again?’” he said.
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“It’s on the back of everyone’s minds that it might happen again,” he said of the rash of fires.
Azard said one of the chamber’s main messages to the community was that “there is no need to panic.”
“I don’t want to connect (the Aboiteau wharf fire) to the past fires,” he said.
He said that when the original rash of fires occured, the chamber advised businesses to reinforce their security measures, saying many businesses installed security measures.
He said it was also important to check the structural integrity of the building to prepare for possible accidental fires.
“Whether it was criminal or not, whether it was accidental or not, we will have an adequate response to that. For now, I am sending my compassion to the business owners,” Azard said.
The Aboiteau Seafood Paradise restaurant owners declined to comment.
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