CEO on plant fire: 'It's the people - their livelihoods - that were gonna be impacted'

WARRENTON, Ore. - The CEO of Pacific Coast Seafoods - destroyed in a massive fire last week -- said Monday that he directed firefighters to pull back for safety and let the plant burn.

It was a business that he, his father and grandfather spent their lives building up. While Frank Dulcich said the fire caused an enormous loss, he feels fortunate his workers escaped safely.

"It's really about people. It's not about this stuff. You can fix this," he said. "But it's the people - their livelihoods - that were gonna be impacted."

Dulcich gave an interview Monday to KATU, showing the recovery underway.

The fire destroyed the fish-processing plant last Tuesday. Dozens of workers were in the plant at about 11 a.m. when the fire broke out.

Dulcich believes regular, mandatory fire drills helped employees evacuate quickly without any injuries.

"Had there not been something explained and demanded of our team members to do these processes, we'd have lost life," he said.

A bright spot in the plant's devastating loss: Firefighters did save the cannery's ice plant, which stores the ice needed for fishing boats to pack their catch at sea.

Plans for a temporary processing facility at Astoria's Tongue Point also are in the works. The plant should be up and running by this weekend, in time for the summer fishing season.

What keeps Dulcich optimistic right now? A deeper sense of goodwill in this community.

"You know, there's no contracts with our fishermen. It's a handshake," he said. "It's a word that you're going to do your best for them and they're going to do the best for you. It's a great culture and a great industry to be a part of."