"I've never seen anything like this before," one witness told WAVE 3 News Monday.
The crowds near the fire watched in awe, staring at the flames coming from the side of the building. At times, the smoke was so intense it hid the street behind it.
"I was videotaping, trying to keep an eye on my car," Dennis Goodman said.
"Thank goodness for full coverage," he said.
[IMAGES: 3-alarm fire along Whiskey Row]
Some cars in the building next door survived, but their owners were stranded.
"Sometimes I park against that wall that collapsed, but this time I parked on this side and I'm so glad that I did," Randy Weisberg said.
More people kept stopping as the fire intensified. Cell phones and cameras were in the air, capturing a moment now engraved in Louisville history.
"I'm getting married right over there and I just wanted to make sure my venue wasn't on fire," Morgan Bentley said as she pointed to a building near the fire.
[RELATED: Historians: Whiskey Row survived fires and floods, will survive again]
Some didn't have a choice but to watch and wait as emergency crews shut down traffic to make way for fire equipment.
"It took half an hour just to get from where (Interstate) 65 cuts off down to the ballpark," Bob Dalaskey said.