WHISKEY RIVER: Jim Beam surveying damage to river, neighbors from warehouse fire


WOODFORD COUNTY, Kentucky (WLEX) – Jim Beam is starting to take stock of damages from Tuesday night’s fire at its barrel warehouse in Woodford County.

Some 45,000 barrels of bourbon were lost in the fire. But the damages could have been so much worse.

Neighbor Gary Tate thought he might lose his home and horses.

“I thought our propane tank out back blew up,” said Tate. “That’s what I thought it was because it shook the whole house.”

Saving the animals on his property became his top priority.

“I got everything out because it was so hot I was afraid I would lose them all,” Tate said.

Now they’re back in the place Tate has called home for 20 years, and during that time he says Jim Beam has been a good neighbor

He said that hasn’t changed since Tuesday.

“They’re going to have a restoration crew here next week to start fixing our house and put new windows,” said Tate.

And despite the company’s estimated $45 million in losses from the fire, guess who’s picking up the bill for Tate?

Jim Beam is taking care of every bit of it,” he said.

Work also continues on nearby Glenn’s Creek and the Kentucky River, which has already seen contamination of fish and some other aquatic life given the run-off.

Officials are warning river users to be aware of discoloration, foaming, and odors resulting from this once-in-a-lifetime natural disaster.

At least Tate is hoping lightning only strikes once here.

“I’ve been here, like, say 20 years,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it and I sure pray I never have see it again.”

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