WELLINGTON – A storm-related power outage has forced the Wellington Co-op to toss out thousands of dollars worth of food.
Main photo: Chrissy Arsenault throws food into a dumpster at the Co-op in Wellington. A power outage forced the store to get rid of thousands of dollars of food. Stephanie Drummond/ Journal Pioneer
A portion of the food needing to be thrown out due to the recent power outages Monday and Tuesday at the Wellington Co-op. Stephanie Drummond/ Journal Pioneer.
Problems began Monday and continued Tuesday when the spring storm that hit the region knocked out power in the area, causing the store’s refrigeration system to stop working.
The system had been out of service for a day, making all of the food inside unsellable.
All of the store’s dairy, meat, frozen food, and some produce needed to be disposed of.
Manager Rick Arseanault said Wednesday the store would not have food until the power gets turned back on and a new shipment is sent from Co-op Atlantic. Power was still off in the area early Wednesday.
“We hope to be running full strength by Saturday.”
Arsenault said the food couldn’t be donated due to safety concerns.
“Someone could get sick. It’s been off (refrigeration) for a day and a half. It’s a shame.”
After being blasted by snow, and the power outages in the area, it took awhile for the store to get dug out and the problem to get noticed.
“When we got dug out we saw the temperature. We knew they were gone bad and had to be thrown out.”
The store does have insurance, and a claim agent was on the way Wednesday afternoon. Arsenault said he’s not sure how much insurance will cover.
The full damage has not been estimated, but Arseanault said just one section was worth about $17,000.
The store has two different lines of power incoming, and was able to save the walk-in freezer. They had a generator until the power was restored.
Workers gathered Wednesday to clear the shelves and throw the food into 24-foot long garbage bins.
Arsenault said he was pleased with the support the store has received from the community.
“Thank you to the people for their patience as we deal with this issue.”