Neptun is burning!

The year was 1946. The clean-up after five long years of war was well underway. The herring oil factory Neptun at Melbu was transferred from the company Gunnar Frederiksen AS to the Directorate for Enemy Property, as a result of Gunnar Frederiksen’s financial cooperation with the occupying forces and his NS membership. Now the state was to run the herring oil factory.

That same year, a major fire broke out on the small factory island outside Melbu.

When the fire started in 1946 is was for the second time in the history of the Neptun factory facility
In 1912, only two years after the opening of the factory a major fire broke out there. Still the factory was back up and running only a year later.
The roaring flames out on Svinøya in 1946 would force part of the production out under the open sky for many years after.
A young man named Halvor Ribe had gotten the taste for photography. During the spring of liberation he had gone around documenting both German and Norwegian activities at Melbu with his camera
Now he picked up his camera and ran down to the factory island
Several of the factory buildings were buildt in stone. This saved parts of the facility from total destruction.
The warehouse where they kept the herring flour, a large wooden structure couldn’t be saved.
The firefighters fought bravely against the flames. Here they are pictured outside the fire station in Melbu, ca. 1950.
After the fire it took twelve whole years to get a new warehouse built. As late as 1958 the new herring flour storage facility was finished. The factory kept up production until the mid 1980’ies