Jim Beam Warehouse Fire (8/4)

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2003/08/05 11:51:00 (permalink)

Jim Beam Warehouse Fire (8/4)

BARDSTOWN, Kentucky (AP) -- Flames engulfed a seven-story bourbon warehouse Monday, sending alcohol-fueled flames more than 100 feet in the air.

The wood-frame Jim Beam warehouse collapsed about two hours after the fire was reported at 3 p.m. and continued burning. The company said the warehouse held about 19,000 barrels of bourbon, or less than two percent of its bourbon inventory.

There were no reports of injuries.

Firefighters doused two nearby warehouses with water in an attempt to save them, while a fire truck stood by at a third.
"Only one of them is on fire and they're working to make sure that it stays that way and to contain the burning whiskey," said Larry Green, city administrator.

Bourbon from the warehouse ran off into a nearby creek and caught fire. Firefighters began to dam up the area, said Fire Chief Anthony Mattingly.

Emergency officials did not know the fire's cause, but the company said in a statement from its headquarters in Deerfield, Ill., that lightning was to blame.

Warehouse and distillery fires are typically devastating because of the flammable alcohol. In 2000, a fire at a Wild Turkey distillery in Lawrenceburg destroyed a seven-story warehouse that held nearly 1 million gallons of aging bourbon in 17,200 barrels.

More than 95 percent of the world's bourbon is produced in Kentucky, where it has been made since the 1780s. More than a half-dozen distilleries are in the region, including Jim Beam, Maker's Mark and Wild Turkey.


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