Developers plan to rebuild after fire rips through Whiskey Row - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Developers plan to rebuild after fire rips through Whiskey Row

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Fire crews were still on the scene after fire gutted several buildings on Main Street's Whiskey Row.

It took 85 firefighters about three hours to get the fire under control.

Brown-Forman was set to start construction on a multimillion dollar distillery project in the next month-and-a-half, and other businesses were also ready to breathe life back into the historic block.

"It is absolutely nauseating to see fire ravage these buildings that so many people have worked so long and hard to save," said Craig Greenberg, one of the co-developers working on projects for Whiskey Row.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer told us the fire will slow down construction, but the city is resilient. He says the fire will only add to the legacy of historic Whiskey Row.

"It's a setback but I can tell you the people that are involved in this, they've faced tougher challenges than this," Fischer said. "We certainly have as a city before, so they'll get together. A fire might destroy the structure, but it's not gonna destroy this history of our city and our ability to rebound at the same time."

[Read more: Mayor Fischer speaks about Whiskey Row fire]

During the fire... bricks fell on nearby cars and businesses had to shut their doors to customers.

Fire officials used a new tool to get a better idea of what's happening inside -- a drone.

"In a building this size it's difficult to really get an idea of where the hot spots still are, where the fire is burning," said Louisville Fire & Rescue Chief Gregory Frederick. "With that drone, we're putting a piece of equipment up there -- that is $10,000 -- but that saves us risking somebody's life in a precarious situation."

[WATCH: Drone footage shows smoke billowing from Whiskey Row as crews fight flames]

Renovation work started on the buildings just a few weeks ago, according to developers, and construction crews were there yesterday before the fire started.

Capt. Sal Melendez with Louisville Fire & Rescue says he is confident that the historic facades have been saved, but walls and floors have crumbled inside and he says there could more damage.

"One of our main concerns are sill interior collapses," Melendez said. "We haven't had any through the night but due to the amount of water that has been put on these walls and side, that's always a possibility.

Melendez says the investigation into what started the fire is ongoing, and that arson investigators have been interviewing people about what was going on before the fire.

So far no one was has been able to get inside the buildings.

We're told that the developers plan to bring structural engineers to the site to determine how to move forward...

As for the businesses in the area, we're told all but O'Shea's will re-open later today.

Humana Waterside is closed today, and other businesses on the block are still deciding whether to open. Fire officials are asking some businesses not to open.
Several roads downtown are also closed -- Main, Washington and Witherspoon are all closed from 2nd to Brook Streets. Officials say those roads will be closed most of the day, if not all day.

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Fire crews fight flames in Whiskey Row buildings, facades will likely be saved

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