Danny Fitzsimmons of Lubec visits a former cat food factory in Lubec that collapsed during Tuesday's storm. Credit: Chase Fitzsimmons

A former cat food factory building collapsed in Lubec at the height of Tuesday’s nor’easter.

Lubec resident Chase Fitzsimmons said he saw that a former Puss ‘N Boots building had fallen in on itself when he showed up Wednesday morning to rake the roof of his father’s house on Lower Water Street.

The building was among several rickety structures that Lubec town officials had been cracking down on since a brining shed at the historic McCurdy’s Smokehouse left its moorings and floated across the Lubec Narrows to Canada’s Campobello Island during another nor’easter on Jan. 4.

The cat food factory closed in 1964, according to the Lubec Historical Society, but the building had several other owners since then. It was most recently used as a storage facility, said Lubec Landmarks President Rachel Rubeor, whose organization used the site to store remains of the brining shed.

The building had been about two stories tall, Fitzsimmons said.

“It’s just flat. You can’t see anything of it, ” Fitzsimmons said Wednesday. “It has been there since I was a kid. It has a sailboat inside of it and a couple of vehicles. One was a moving van, a box truck that had a bunch of stuff in it.”

The owner of the storage facility, whom Rubeor identified as Florida resident Marshall Rust, declined to comment on the building’s collapse when reached on Wednesday.

Rust, Rubeor said, was among several landowners who received a Feb. 5 form letter from Code Enforcement Officer Jimmy Clark, advising that his building was “dilapidated to an extent and in a condition deemed dangerous” by state law.

Clark wrote that at least some of the buildings remaining on the site “represent a clear and present danger to public life, limb, navigation and public property.”

Clark’s action was prompted by selectmen’s concerns that other shoreline buildings could fall into the Narrows and become navigational obstacles to area fishing boats and other craft.

The factory was used as a place to off-load herring from boats to trucks, according to the historical society. It closed after Quaker Oats sold the building to another cat food maker who retired the brand in favor of more popular cat foods.

Clark and other town officials could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. Rust is working with local contractors to clean up the site, Rubeor said.

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