The massive Jim Beam bourbon barrel warehouse fire that occurred at the Old Crow Distillery location in Woodford County, Kentucky is out. The fire started on July 2, 2019 around 11:30pm. A thunderstorm in the area is suspected of taking a lighting hit that started the catastrophic fire but the actual cause is not yet known. The good news in all this is no one was hurt which is pretty incredible considering the more than 2 million gallons of bourbon once held within the walls of the warehouse.
Jim Beam, local officials and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are onsite already cleaning up from the fire and subsequent bourbon spill.
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The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet is monitoring water conditions along Glenns Creek which leads into the Kentucky River which leads into the much larger Ohio River. Aerators have been deployed in Glenns Creek to support the regeneration of the affected water. And it is expected they will soon begin operating from barges in the Kentucky River.
The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said, “Teams from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and representatives from Beam Suntory, along with three teams from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources are on the river today, sampling water oxygen levels and documenting the number of fish killed. In addition to the assessment teams, there are teams on the river conducting active aeration to mitigate some of the effects on the aquatic life.”
“The agencies are seeing increasing quantities of dead and distressed fish…These teams will continue assessments and work to mitigation efforts of the spill until water quality returns to normal conditions in the river. Other impacts observed on the river include foaming, discoloration, and odor.”
The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet provided this update on Sunday.
1) The alcohol plume on the Kentucky River is approximately 23 miles long. The leading edge of the plume is located between Owenton and Carrollton.
2) Unified command, Franklin County EM, Owen County EM, KDEP, U.S. EPA, and Beam Suntory representatives, in a coordinated effort, will be using a combination of water sampling and water field screening instruments to get real-time results of water quality on the river today. These efforts will help determine the location of the leading edge and length of the plume.
3) Aeration of the Kentucky River continues in an attempt to increase the low dissolved oxygen levels in the water.
4) The warehouse fire is out and currently, there is a very limited impact on Glenns Creek from the facility. The on-site stormwater drainage system is being evaluated in an attempt to recover any product or impacted water that may remain within the system. Cleanup at the warehouse site continues.
5) The Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is on the river again today to continue wildlife assessments and fish kill count. Results are pending.
6) We continue to see dead and dying fish. People using the Kentucky River in the area of the plume will likely see and smell dead fish.
7) The plume is expected to reach the Ohio River sometime very early Monday morning. We expect the plume to dissipate quickly at it enters the much, much larger body of water but there could be some impact to aquatic life immediately where the two rivers meet.
8) Water quality assessments are scheduled for tomorrow.
We’ll continue to update this story as things progress.
Jim Beam – Old Crow Distillery Barrel Warehouse Fire Photos
Click any image to enlarge.