Wildlife

Dead fish litter Kentucky River after Jim Beam fire

Dead fish in the Kentucky River after the Jim Beam fire.
The Kentucky River is brimming with dead fish. Photo: Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet/Facebook

The alcohol plume on the Kentucky River from a fire at a Jim Beam warehouse is about 23 miles long, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said Sunday, and the runoff has caused a mass kill-off of fish.

QuoteWe continue to see dead and dying fish. People using the Kentucky River in the area of the plume will likely see and smell dead fish."
— Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet statement

Jim Beam fire runoff into Kentucky River threatens aquatic life

: Bottles of Jim Beam Bourbon make their way down a conveyor belt inside the bottling plant at the Jim Beam Bourbon Distillery on January 13, 2014.
The Jim Beam Bourbon Distilleryn Clermont, Kentucky. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Getty Images

A massive fire at a Jim Beam warehouse containing 45,000 barrels of bourbon Wednesday is likely to have a "serious impact" on aquatic life after runoff flowed into the Kentucky River, authorities warn.

Details: Government officials said the runoff of whiskey, hose water, barrel residue and charred debris could trigger a "severe fish kill" as bacteria consume the alcohol and use up the water’s oxygen supply, according to the Washington Post. It usually takes 24 hours before runoff effects emerge, an environmental official told WKYTV.