General Electric has decided to demolish offices that sustained smoke and water damage during a massive warehouse fire at Appliance Park on April 3. In a public statement, GE spokeswoman Kim Freeman said the firm hasn’t determined if these offices will be replaced, but the damage was extensive enough that renovation did not make sense.
About 250 employees from the offices were relocated within Appliance Park following the fire. Work to clear the damaged offices is expected to commence within the next eight weeks, while demolition of the warehouse already is underway.
The April blaze at GE Appliances Building 6 was so large that it required 100 firefighters to get it under control. The building warehoused production parts and contained offices for several hundred employees.
Freeman said GE is in the process of implementing a multi-year plan to upgrade Appliance Park’s fire suppression systems; this upgrade is the result of GE’s annual review of its fire prevention and suppression processes, and the suggested upgrades are based on the recommendations of outside experts.
Over the past few years, GE already had spent $11 million on fire-suppression systems, and over the next five years the company plans to invest another $20 million toward fire safety, Freeman said. “This $31 million investment will create a system that will exceed the standards for effective fire suppression at Appliance Park.”
Today’s press release also indicated that on Aug. 1, GE will close the claims process for Appliance Park-area residents who believe their property was damaged by the fire. GE opened this process almost immediately after the fire, and so far has paid out over $500,000 in response to 2,400 claims received.
If area residents believe they have claims related to the fire they can either call 1-888-456-7445, or email [email protected] to request a claim form.
The cause of the fire remains unknown, and the Louisville Fire Department and GE still are actively investigating. GE also has not disclosed when, or if, the burned buildings will be rebuilt, though the firm said its investment in Appliance Park is ongoing. GE also said the ultimate cost of the fire remains unknown, though the firm said there were only small changes to planned production schedules.
GE officials also have said this fire should have no impact on the proposed sale of GE to Electrolux.