Massive fire in Elizabethtown leaves heavy damage to Kentucky Cardinal Inn

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- A massive fire at the Kentucky Cardinal Inn motel in Elizabethtown left heavy damage to the building.

Elizabethtown Fire's Deputy Chief Everett Roberts said the initial 911 call came in at 12:43 p.m. Tuesday. Firefighters arrived at the scene on East Dixie Avenue four minutes later. 

After three hours, firefighters had not declared the fire under control. Roberts said the fire was difficult to put out. 

“This side of town, we have poor water pressure, so we are kind of limited on what we can do with our hose lines, master streams," he said. 

Fire crews arrived to find thick black smoke and flames that had spread through the majority of the building, according to Elizabethtown Police spokesman Officer John Thomas. He said the building will likely be a "total loss."  

Lourde Carrot's peaceful nap was interrupted with the blare of a smoke alarm and a scream outside her room.

Elizabethtown motel fire 3-19-19 (photo courtesy of Elizabeth Lewis)

Elizabethtown motel fire 3-19-19 (photo courtesy of Elizabeth Lewis)

"I got out, thank God," she said. "I ran, because I came back out of the hallway, and I ran down, and I started hitting every window upstairs."

And then she saw the scope of a fire that quickly consumed the whole motel, which is just a short walk from I-65 in Elizabethtown.

"An inferno," said Carrot, who lost everything in the fire. "When we came outside, we realized, 'Oh my God. It's bad.'"

The motel has some residents who live there long-term. No one was injured, and firefighters said residents living at the motel made it out safely because of smoke detectors. 

The American Red Cross is helping more than 30 people displaced by the fire find a place to stay. 

The cause of the fire and where it started are still under investigation. But officials said flames spread through the first and second floors of the motel and into the walls of the building. 

"I thank God for life," Carrot said. "You can't replace life, and I was just worried about kids and babies. Everybody got out, and when I seen everybody was out, that was the most important thing."

(Video Courtesy: City of Elizabethtown Government Facebook page)

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Valerie Chinn joined WDRB in 2001. She focuses on investigative journalism and anchors WDRB News at 11:30 and Noon. Got a tip? Reach Valerie at 502-585-0875 and vchinn@wdrb.com