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Fire destroyed the Covered Bridge Potato Chips facility in Waterville, N.B., on March 1, 2024. Image: Government of New Brunswick

Covered Bridge Potato Chips will rebuild after fire

By Brad Perry Mar 6, 2024 | 8:50 PM

The founder and CEO of Covered Bridge Potato Chips says they plan to rebuild after last week’s devastating fire.

Flames tore through the company’s factory in the western New Brunswick community of Waterville on Friday night.

Ryan Albright was heading to Bangor, Maine, to visit his wife, who works as a travel nurse, when he learned of the fire.

“I received a text from my QA manager saying that the plant was on fire,” Albright said in an interview on Wednesday.

“First I thought, ‘Oh that’s not a funny joke’ but I called her right away and it turns out that’s what was transpiring.”

Albright, who left the factory about 90 minutes earlier, said the fire started in the fryer room but the exact cause is still unknown.

The founder said it has been a particularly challenging time for the more than 180 employees who are currently without a job.

“Covered Bridge is a family and we also have a lot of families working within that family. We have three brothers, we have husbands and wives, we have a husband and wife and kids,” said Albright.

Amid the challenges, Albright said the community support is something that has helped to push him forward.

Businesses have shared their support on social media and some groups are organizing fundraisers for the workers.

“There’s been some great initiatives being launched, from benefit breakfasts to other ideas. Our team’s working at that to coordinate everything so we can have some of that help and support for our employees and their families,” said Albright.

Albright hopes many of those workers will return after they rebuild, but acknowledged that the process will take time.

He is asking the community and their customers for patience as they work to get back in business as soon as possible.

“We’re going to try and get product back on the shelves as quick as we can.”