Jim Beam warehouse filled with 45,000 barrels of bourbon catches fire

July 3, 2019

Drew Chandler, the emergency management director for Woodford County, told local news station WKYT that lighting might have sparked the fire at one warehouse Tuesday night before spreading to a second storage facility. Crews managed to extinguish one, he said. But the other fire was proving more challenging; a second team was called in to bring in flame-retardant foam and a local business is hauling in sand to limit the runoff from flowing into a nearby creek and the Kentucky River, according to news reports.

A standard barrel contains about 53 gallons of bourbon, which is aged for years to achieve its desired colour and flavour. The bourbon gives the flames ample material to burn, Chandler said. Generally, any alcohol that's at least 80 proof - like most bourbon - is flammable.

"We are thankful that no one was injured in this incident, and we are grateful to the courageous firefighters from multiple jurisdictions who brought the fire under control and prevented it from spreading," Jim Beam's parent company, Beam Suntory, said in a statement. "We have a comprehensive warehouse safety programme that includes regular inspections and rigorous protocols to promote safety and the security of our ageing inventory."

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