A company that owns a Kentucky distillery is facing large fines from state officials after a warehouse collapsed last week and leaking bourbon caused the death of hundreds of fish, said state officials.
The collapse of the warehouse caused the bourbon to seep into the public waterways. Barton 1792 parent company Sazerac is facing the stiff penalties from Kentucky that could be as high as $25,000 one day after failing to notify the state about the bourbon spill, which killed several hundred and possibly over 1,000 fish.
During the weekend, following Friday’s warehouse collapse, dead fish started to be seen floating on the water in Beech Fork and Withrow Creek both located in Bardstown, Kentucky.
The Kentucky Environment and Energy Cabinet director of communications John A. Mura said that alcohol is toxic for fish therefore, if a fish ingests it, it would kill them.
In addition, added Mura, bacteria in water actually consume alcohol and by doing so reduced the level of oxygen in the water to levels dangerous to fish and could also kill them due to not being about to breathe.
The collapse of the warehouse took place on Friday when over 9,000 barrels of bourbon crashed at a warehouse owned by Barton 1792 in Bardstown, which is located approximately 40 miles to the south of Louisville.
A resident who lives near the warehouse said she thought there was an earthquake after she heard a very loud boom, similar to the sound of thunder, and the ground shook afterwards for a short period.
Officials from the company or local officials have not identified what caused the warehouse collapse. However, the building was built during the 1940s and that predates the current code enforcement in Nelson County, Kentucky.
The current building inspector for Nelson County, Logan Spaulding said that the building was built so many years ago that it predated any of today’s building codes currently in effect.
Each individual owner has the responsibility of making sure their buildings are constructed properly added the building inspector.
The Friday collapse likely caused thousands and possibly millions of dollars in damages. Barton 1792 will carry out its own private safety investigation and report for the site, said a local television station.
Local officials have not said when an announcement would be made regarding the possible fine the company could be charged.