Massive Fire at Appliance Park
Firefighters work to extinguish fire at GE plant
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A fire that broke out early Friday at General Electric's Appliance Park here has consumed one building and shut down production in others, officials said.
The fire broke out in Building 6 at the GE industrial park, and the building was quickly evacuated, according to Jody Duncan, an MetroSafe dispatch spokeswoman. All employees are accounted for and safe; it was not immediately known how many workers were in the building when the fire broke out.
The building is considered a total loss. It has collapsed, and the fire's cause has not been determined.
Production in the industrial park where GE makes washing machines, dryers, dish washers, refrigerators and water heaters has ceased while firefighters battle the blaze, GE spokeswoman Kim Freeman said.
People within a half-mile radius of the fire have been asked to shelter in place because of smoke and fumes. Chunks of ash and debris are raining down in the area, and the column of smoke is visible for miles.
The blaze has been classified as a four-alarm fire, and more than 100 firefighters were called to the scene, according to the assistant chief of the Okolona (Ky.) Fire Protection District.
Appliance Park is the 1,000-acre headquarters of GE Consumer & Industrial, GE's appliance division that is expected to become a subsidiary of Swedish appliance manufacturer Electrolux later this year. About 6,000 GE employees work in the industrial park, which has at least 15 buildings.
However, Building 6 has been leased out since GE's air-conditioning operations were sold decades ago. Derby Supply Chain Solutions, which assembles, packages, warehouses and distributes products, has its logistics operations in the building.
The Louisville area also received 4 inches of rain overnight, flooding many homes and streets and closing Jefferson County's schools. Heavy rainfall is expected to continue periodically throughout the day.
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