LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. -- Schools and some businesses were shut down today to conserve water after a warehouse with thousands of barrels of Wild Turkey bourbon caught fire, shooting flames 50 feet into the air and washing bourbon into the city's water source.
A stream of burning bourbon poured down a gully into the Kentucky River, a few yards upstream from the city's water treatment plant intake Tuesday.
An initial assessment found no evidence that the alcohol had killed any fish in the river, state Natural Resources Cabinet spokesman Mark York said today. ''The preliminary assessment last night was actually better than we thought it would be,'' York said.
Factories, restaurants and car washes closed shortly after the treatment plant shut down. They remain closed today along with three schools, police said.
City storage tanks held about 1.2 million gallons of water, according to the state Division of Water. The city uses about 1.8 million gallons a day.
The Kentucky National Guard was asked about trucking in water, said James Ritchey, Anderson County's public safety director.
Distillery operations director Gregg Snyder said it was impossible to guess how much bourbon was lost when the warehouse burned. The 15,000 to 20,000 barrels in the warehouse originally contained 53 gallons of bourbon each, but some of the liquor evaporates during the years of aging.
The warehouse was one of 12 at the distillery owned by Boulevard Distillers.
The fire came a month after employees at the distillery returned to work after a four-week strike over a contract dispute. Snyder said he had no reason to believe the fire was related to the labor dispute.
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