A plume of smoke from the Penobscot McCrum factory is visible for miles on March 24, 2022. Credit: Abigail Curtis / BDN

One year after a devastating fire ripped through the Penobscot McCrum potato processing plant in Belfast, the company announced it would not rebuild the facility.

A fire that began around 2 a.m. March 24, 2022,   destroyed the factory and took more than seven hours for firefighters to knock down. Even after the flames subsided, the plant continued to smolder into the afternoon.

On Friday afternoon, Dana McCrum, human resources manager for Penobscot McCrum, wrote in a Facebook post that the company would choose not to rebuild the Belfast facility, and focus on expanding its Washburn manufacturing facility.

“At this time, we have decided to expand our manufacturing in Washburn and making a significant investment in that facility,” McCrum wrote. “This investment will allow us to continue to work closely with growers and suppliers in Aroostook County whom we are already working with at our facility.”

Some city officials had suspected that the company wouldn’t choose to rebuild, but they are hopeful something will happen to the property in the future.

The facility was spread across two parcels — 28 Pierce St. and 22 Front St. in Belfast. The   buildings were demolished, leaving 4.15 acre lot vacant for much of the last year.

Avatar photo

Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.