Officials determine lightning strike started the Jim Beam warehouse fire

Rebekah Alvey, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in Business News

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Officials have determined that a lightning strike caused a massive fire at the Jim Beam Woodford County warehouse, which went on to burn for several days and had wide-reaching environmental effects.

On Tuesday, the Jim Beam facility transitioned from an emergency phase to long-term remediation and clean up, according to a Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Facebook post.

Initial suspicions that lightning started the fire proved correct, cabinet spokesman John Mura said.

The fire started late on July 2, destroying the warehouse and 45,000 barrels of young Jim Beam. The bourbon leaked and traveled first to Glenns Creek, then the Kentucky River and finally, the Ohio River, where fish were killed. The company and environmental officials attempted to minimize the number of fish killed by using equipment to restore oxygen to the water that the bourbon depleted.

Mura said the cabinet will issue a so-called notice of violation over the next few days that ultimately could lead to a fine against Beam.


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