Fire still burning at Jim Beam facility; loss believed to be $40 million+


FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – It could be a day or two before the decision is made to put out the fire at the Jim Beam facility in Woodford County or let it burn itself out.

The massive fire that broke out Tuesday night destroyed a warehouse with 45,000 barrels of aging bourbon.

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According to Forbes magazine, one bourbon industry expert estimates Jim Beam stands to lose almost $45 million in product alone due to the fire – and that is a conservative estimate.

Jim Beam is not commenting on the estimated cost of the lost product.

Woodford County Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler says a crew remains at the Jim Beam facility, monitoring the fire as it continues to burn.

He says ethanol fumes are burning and officials believe letting the fumes burn rather than spraying the fire will have less environmental impact.

The fire sent a large amount of runoff into Glenn Creek, located near the facility, and the Kentucky River.

Suntory, the parent company of Jim Beam, says aerators were placed in Glenn Creek on Wednesday, and aerators will also be operated from barges in the Kentucky River late Thursday.

The Environmental Protection Agency is on the scene, assessing the impact the runoff is having on the river.

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet says there has already been an impact on fish in the river, with reports of fish kills, as well as distressed fish.

It also says there are reports of water discoloration, foaming, and an odor in the river.

While recreational activity along the river isn’t prohibited, the state says those using the river need to be aware of conditions and use caution.