Massive fire engulfs 2 Jim Beam warehouses in Kentucky

Two barrel warehouses at a Jim Beam aging facility in Versailles, Ky., caught fire late Tuesday night, CNN reports. 

The fire started at one of the warehouses around 11:30 p.m. and later spread to the second structure. Both are approximately the size of a football and stand at six to seven stories high, according to Woodford County Emergency Management chief Drew Chandler. 

Approximately 40 firefighters from five counties responded to the scene, where they were able to put out the blaze in the second warehouse. As of Wednesday morning, the first warehouse, which reportedly contained about 45,000 barrels and had collapsed overnight, was still burning. 

"It's purposefully being allowed to burn for several more hours," Chandler explained. "The more it burns, the less distilled spirits are in the debris."

Police Lt. Michael Fortney said that it was possible that the fire was a result of lightning, although he admitted that the flames had been too big for a fire investigator to get near the scene and determine the actual cause.

Dan Cohen, a spokesman for Jim Beam's parent company Beam Suntory, told WKYT that no one was injured in the fire and thanked responders for controlling the blaze. 

"We have a comprehensive warehouse safety program that includes regular inspections and rigorous protocols to promote safety and the security of our aging inventory," he said. "We operate 126 barrel warehouses in Kentucky that hold approximately 3.3 million barrels for our brands, and the warehouse that was destroyed contained 45,000 barrels of relatively young whiskey from the Jim Beam mash bill. Given the age of the lost whiskey, this fire will not impact the availability of Jim Beam for consumers."

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