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Recovered footage shows extraordinary blaze caused by lightning strike at US whiskey distillery

07 September 2015

Severe storms blasted the countryside around Bardstown, KY, on August 4, 2003. There were multiple lightning strikes, and one bolt hit the warehouse of Bourbon distiller Jim Beam, causing rivers of whiskey to flow from the damaged building. A further lightning strike ignited the whiskey, with the resulting inferno engulfing the warehouse, adjacent woodland and a retention pond.

Stock image
Stock image

Aerial footage taken during the blaze has been obtained by The Weather Channel and shows a rare fire tornado or 'firenado' of flaming alcohol being sucked up into the sky. It is estimated that 800,000 gallons of spirits fuelled the fire, which burned for two days.

The Weather Channel says a firenado requires a very rare set of circumstances to combine at the same time, and can reach a height of 30 metres.

No one was injured but  a nearby creek became contaminated and a number of fish were killed. The Jim Beam company paid state authorities nearly $27,000 in clean-up costs.

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