The building reportedly housed about 18,000 barrels of aging liquor, and the remaining barrels came crashing down July 4, 2018. | Courtesy WLKY

By Lauren Adams and Chris Chandler | WLKY

The second half of a building housing thousands of barrels of aging liquor collapsed Wednesday at the Barton 1792 distillery in Bardstown.

Nelson County Emergency Management spokesman Milt Spalding said about 9,000 barrels of aging spirits were affected during the first collapse on June 22. The building reportedly housed about 18,000 barrels of aging liquor, and the remaining barrels came crashing down just before 2:30 p.m.

Spalding said crews, including the Bardstown Fire Department, arrived at the scene within five minutes.

“It’s not the call you ever want to get, but now we’ve gotten it twice in just a couple weeks,” Spalding said, adding it was difficult to describe the scene. “It’s just a mountain of barrels, it’s hard to describe. Just a pile, a pile of barrels.”

According to Bardstown Fire Chief Billy Mattingly, the “mountain” included not only the barrels from Wednesday’s collapse, but the thousands of barrels that had not yet been removed from the first collapse.

A Barton 1792 spokesperson said the surviving half of the warehouse had not been secured due to “worker safety concerns.”

Barton officials said the distillery’s team rushed to contain the spillage from the barrels. On June 22, the runoff made its way into creeks where fish were later found dead. This time, officials said the runoff was contained.

At this point, it is unknown how many barrels can be salvaged. However, plans are already underway to construct a new warehouse on the site to store the recovered barrels.

The company said it’s had a third party inspect its other warehouses and all have been deemed safe.



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