• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Uncommon observations at warehouse fire

Woodford County Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler observed two unusual events while on scene of the Jim Beam warehouse fire last week. A handful of whiskey barrels rolled far enough away from a burning warehouse so they weren’t destroyed by the massive fire, he said. Chandler later overheard a few employees from Jim Beam “taking odds on what they would call the commemorative bottle release,” he said. “Of course the downside to that,” he continued, “is we would have to wait a couple of years” for the product in the barrels to mature into whiskey that could be sold. Chandler said Jim Beam’s bourbon warehouses (near the Franklin County line) in Woodford County are typically not a tourist stop on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail. That all changed with last week’s massive blaze that consumed a bourbon warehouse and 45,000 barrels of whiskey. Chandler said he and other emergency services workers were standing near McCracken Pike when a mini tour bus drove by with its occupants hanging out the windows taking photos of the warehouse fire. “Ordinarily,” said Chandler, “they would’ve turned around at Castle & Key (Distillery) because there’s nothing really to see – just old warehouses, just old storage facilities.” He estimated one day after the July 2 Jim Beam warehouse fire “there were probably more cars on McCracken Pike … than there were in the two previous weeks combined …”

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