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Thousands of fish have died in alcohol-contaminated water following a Jim Beam warehouse fire in Kentucky.

The whiskey distillery’s blaze, which saw more than 45,000 barrels of bourbon whisky set fire, has caused an ‘alcohol plume’ in one river – estimated to be around 24 miles long.

‘They eventually die’

“The bacteria in the water is going after the food source, which is the sugar in the alcohol and so they deplete the oxygen,” Robert Francis, who is managing the state’s emergency response team, told the BBC.

“The fish start to become distressed, and they eventually die.”

Speaking on the issue of alcohol spills, Francis added: “We’ve had several occur in this state, so when this one occurred, we were just ready for it and knew what the actions were to take.”

‘A serious impact’

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet tweeted: “The Jim Beam warehouse fire in Woodford Co will impact the Ky River. Please use caution while on the river. Discoloration, foaming, and an odor are likely and low oxygen levels could have a serious impact on the aquatic life.

“We’re working with all parties to limit this impact.”

The BBC report the plume is heading towards Ohio River and is expected to dilute to a safe level by Monday.

Liam Giliver

Liam is the former Deputy Editor of Plant Based News. He has written for The Independent, Huffington Post, Attitude Magazine, and more. He is also the author of 'We're Worried About Him'.