Whiskey Row businesses reopen after 24 hours of mayhem
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It wasn’t business as usual on Whiskey Row Tuesday. Many businesses were given the green light to open up shop, but things quickly changed.
"I was under the impression that we were going to open. My boss was under the impression that we were just waiting on the gas to be turned on by LG&E in any moment. Then I was informed by the fire department that we are not allowed to open," said Me Gusta Bar Manager David Riddle.
A day after the massive fire on the historic strip, bars, restaurants, Humana and other offices were forced to remain closed.
"We're a small business, kind of family-owned and everyday hurts when you're not open and this is going to hurt but this is for safety and nobody wants trouble," said Riddle.
Fire and energy crews decided to keep the gas off and roads blocked until they deemed the area safe. Another safety hazard that concerned firefighters were the water hoses. If any of them came loose, they could cause serious harm.
The lack of business left many workers with plenty of time to ponder what they saw the day before.
"I was here, I was actually standing out front and saw a bunch of smoke. The fire department came and, next thing I know, they were running a bunch of hoses. As soon as we realized that it was dangerous to that point, I got everybody scooted out," Riddle recalled. "I can still feel the heat from the flames."
A Whisky Chicks executive watched from the third floor as 85 firefighters swarmed across the street.
"There was a moment where I said, 'you know what, I should probably leave,'" said Jamie Webb.
Businesses owners weren’t the only people inconvenienced by Monday’s fire as residents at Whiskey Row Lofts were also forced to evacuate -- and some people didn’t make it back home until the next day.
“My brother came and picked me up and I stayed in Indiana overnight," said Whiskey Row Lofts resident Kevin Graves.
Most Whiskey Row businesses have reopened and the managers say they feel fortunate that their establishments weren't ruined by the fire.
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