Brown-Forman issues letter to employees following Whiskey Row fi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Brown-Forman issues letter to employees following Whiskey Row fire

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Crews are still on the scene Tuesday of a fire that damaged several buildings along Whiskey Row on Main Street in downtown Louisville.

The fire initially broke out Monday afternoon.

It took a team of 85 firefighters to get the flames under control.

Brown-Forman was slated to start construction on a multi-million dollar distillery project in the next month-and-a-half and other businesses were also expected to invest in the historic block.

Developers say they intend to rebuild.

WDRB has obtained the following letter that was sent by Brown-Forman officials to company employees:

Dear Fellow Employee,
As many of you may know, three buildings along Louisville’s Whiskey Row on West Main Street were heavily damaged by fire Monday afternoon.  The fire started in the building adjacent to the buildings where we will build the Old Forester Distillery and Visitor Experience and spread in the opposite direction (toward the east) away from our buildings.  Thankfully, no one was injured in the fire.
As far as we know this morning, our Old Forester Distillery buildings suffered little damage. However, we will need to get structural engineers to inspect them before we can be assured of their exact condition.  At this point, however, our plans remain unchanged and we will continue with preliminary work and hold a ground-breaking ceremony later this summer and begin construction on the project.  The timing of that event could change based on the condition of both our buildings and the three other buildings involved in the fire, but as of now we do not know of any reasons to change our plans to develop the Old Forester Distillery on Whiskey Row.
Unfortunately, the fate of those three buildings engulfed in the fire is much worse, as all experienced very heavy damage.  The hope is that the three facades of the buildings can be saved, preserving the look and feel of Louisville’s nineteenth century Whiskey Row. 
Brown-Forman is one of the investors in Main Street Revitalization, the organization that was created and funded by several community leaders as well as our company several years ago to purchase and save the Whiskey Row buildings from demolition.  The preservation of our historic structures in our community and elsewhere is vitally important to us, as they reflect the unique character and history of a place. So Brown-Forman and Main Street Revitalization join with preservationists everywhere in lamenting the serious damage done to the three historic buildings on Louisville’s Whiskey Row.  We are grateful, however, that the two Old Forester Distillery buildings were spared from the ravages of the fire, thanks to providence and the work Main Street Revitalization did to stabilize the structures prior to our purchase of the buildings last month.
All of us at Brown-Forman and Main Street Revitalization commend the excellent work of the Louisville Fire Department for keeping the fire from spreading west to our Old Forester Distillery buildings and preventing the blaze from damaging other occupied buildings nearby.
We will update you further about the condition of the Old Forester Distillery and other Whiskey Row buildings when we know more.

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