LOUISVILLE — Fire broke out Monday in Louisville’s historic downtown Whiskey Row, and dozens of firefighters worked to control the blaze in the vacant buildings. No injuries were reported as a huge plume of smoke rose and flames were visible at the tops of the buildings near the KFC Yum Center. Fire Capt. Salvador Melendez said several adjacent businesses were evacuated.
Part of the roof of one building had collapsed, but the brick facades remained intact. Melendez said the fire started in the basement or first floor of a building and involved three structures. Firefighters were called to Main Street about 4:30 p.m.
The fire appeared to be contained, and firefighters were working to protect nearby businesses, Melendez said. Renovation work began about two weeks ago on the buildings where the fire broke out, he said.
The buildings are owned by an investment group with connections to Brown-Forman Corp. but not by the company, Brown-Forman spokesman Phil Lynch said. The buildings are adjacent to buildings being renovated by Brown-Forman for Old Forester Distillery, Lynch said. The company said last year it was investing $30 million to turn two historic buildings into a production facility and tourist attraction.
Some of the Whiskey Row properties were built in the 1850s and used for warehousing barrels of whiskey produced at area distilleries.