A long-standing welding and machine shop in Petitcodiac, N.B., has been destroyed by fire.
“Within a half an hour it was just gone,” said Kevin Bannister, owner of Woodman’s Welding and Machine Ltd. on Havelock Road.
Bannister said he bought the business with his late wife 32 years ago. He said he is devasted that the building and its contents have been destroyed.
“Just to see it — your stomach just drops,” he said.
More than 50 firefighters from eight different detachments and 12 water tankers responded to the fire around 10:30 p.m. Monday said Petitcodiac Fire Cheif Craig Ramsay.
“We haven’t got hydrant coverage in this area here so we ended up having to haul water from a water source,” said Ramsay.
Ramsay said crews rushed to contain the fire before it reached welding tanks stored outside, but they were unable to save the building. He said the fire is not being considered suspicious and the cause is still under investigation.
Crews from Moncton, Riverview, Petitcodiac, Penobquis, Salisbury, Elgin, Havelock and Millstream detachments all responded to the call.
The welding shop has been a staple in the community for decades, the largest welding shop in the area. Petitcodiac resident Robert Plume, also a recent customer, said it’s a major loss for businesses that depend on getting work done.
“I was pretty upset when I heard it,” said Plume.
Banister said he is now at a loss of what to do next.
It’s been a rough few years for the business owner. After losing his wife five years ago, he said he was forced to lay off half of his employees due to reduced business from the potash mine closures in Sussex. Now his shop is gone too.
A total of six employees worked at the shop said Bannister including his own son. He said the business was insured but he is unsure if he will rebuild.
“I turn 60 this weekend and there are a lot of questions it’s just I don’t know,” he said.