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City firefighters respond for fire in Barton Brands’ mash drying system

NC GAZETTE / WBRT RADIO
STAFF REPORT

Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 — A fire that began Friday evening in one of Barton Brand’s mash-drying systems was contained by firefighters to the inside of one of the distillery’s buildings.

The Bardstown Fire Department was dispatched at 8:31 p.m. after a passer-by saw flames, and plant personnel reported the fire to E-911 Dispatch.  The first firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke and flames venting from a pipe on the building’s roof. The fire was located in a dryer unit and also in a second-floor expansion chamber in the vent pipe before it exited the roof.

Fire personnel on the scene reported they had the fire under control at about 9 p.m.

According to a fire department press release, an investigation determined the fire began in the dryer system’s expansion chamber during a routine “burn-off” procedure that cleans residual spent mash in the dryer.

Once the grains are used in the distilling process, the distilleries take that byproduct and remove the moisture. After the spent grain is dried, it is sold most often as animal feed.

Fire investigators believe heat from the burn-off cleaning process ignited residual dried mash product in the second-floor expansion chamber. Once ignited, the burning material fell down the vent and into the dryer, igniting product in the dryer as well.

Fire crews extinguished the fire and then checked the surrounding areas to be certain the fire had not spread in the building. Crews were on the scene for about an hour and a half.

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