US Coast Guard photo
A fire burns at Pacific Seafood in Warrenton, Wash.
US Coast Guard photo
A fire burns at Pacific Seafood in Warrenton, Wash.

The managers of Pacific Seafood are trying to find positions for 130 employees left without a place to work after a large fire in the coastal town of Warrenton June 4.

“First and foremost, we are grateful that no one has been hurt," says Frank Dulcich, CEO of Pacific Seafood who grew up at St. Ignatius Parish in Portland and now belongs to St. James Church in Vancouver.   

Thanking firefighters, Dulcich said the company is trying to find spots for displaced workers at other Pacific Seafood facilities in the region. Dulcich said the Clackamas-based company plans to maintain its presence in Clatsop County "for many years to come." The burned plant is near the mouth of the Columbia River.

Cause of the 2-alarm blaze is still under investigation, but early reports say it may have started in one of the large cooling units. About 100 workers evacuated safely.
Firefighters did not take too aggressive a strategy because of ammonia on site used to process seafood. Fire departments from Warrenton, Astoria, Lewis and Clark Fire District and Gearhart came to fight the late-morning fire and spent seven hours on the job. No one was injured.

Other fish plants are taking on the catch from fishing boats that normally unload at the Warrenton plant, which processed about 120,000 pounds of seafood daily. Pacific Seafood supplies many Oregon restaurants.

While other kids were hitting balls at the baseball diamond, young Frank Dulcich was breaking down wooden fish boxes. When his classmates from St. Ignatius School biked to the drugstore for sodas, he biked to his family’s store at Southeast 43rd and Powell to wait on customers at the counter or clean the bathrooms. Frank’s parents couldn’t afford babysitters, so he and his siblings went to the store after school every day, to work or just hang out.

Young Frank was completely immersed in the small seafood business started by his father Dominic and his grandfather in 1941.

The Croatian immigrant family focused on hard work, integrity, compassion and honesty.

The Warrenton building was the company's first processing plant, purchased in 1983. It now has more than 30 processing plants from Alaska to Mexico.