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Wednesday, 10 May, 2000, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Bourbon fire in Kentucky
The fire consumed a seven-storey warehouse
The fire consumed a seven-storey warehouse
A distillery blaze fuelled by thousands of gallons of whiskey has destroyed a warehouse and threatened water supplies in central Kentucky.

A spokesman for the Wild Turkey whiskey company said thousands of bourbon casks had been exploding like gunfire at the peak of the blaze in a seven-storey warehouse near the town of Lawrenceburg.

No one was seriously injured, although two firefighters were overcome by fumes and heat.

An investigation has started into the cause of the fire.

Water contaminated

The authorities shut down a local water treatment plant after a large amount of burning bourbon mixed with water from fire hoses flowed into the Kentucky River.

Lawrenceburg officials ordered unnecessary water usage in restaurants and car washes to be halted temporarily.

The burning alcohol also set fire to woods behind the water treatment plant.

The warehouse was one of 12 at the plant. Company officials said each facility contained 15,000-20,000 barrels filled with bourbon.

The distillery - the only one where the famous Wild Turkey brand is made - is still operating.

The company spokesman said supplies of the bourbon would not be affected.

He said the whiskey in the destroyed warehouse would not have been ready for drinking for another 10 years.

Wild Turkey is owned by the French spirits conglomerate Pernod-Ricard SA.

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