Barrel recovery starts after crews finish rickhouse deconstruction; Ewing Rd. remains closed

Barrel recovery starts after crews finish rickhouse deconstruction; Ewing Rd. remains closed
O.Z. Tyler removing barrels from partially fallen rickhouse

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Representatives with O.Z. Tyler say they have decided to “deconstruct” Warehouse H.

It’s the rickhouse that partially collapsed early Monday in Owensboro. Thousands of barrels of bourbon were inside.

Representatives say there will be a controlled removal of remaining barrels in the warehouse, taking them out one at a time. They will separate unaffected barrels and transfer them to other warehouses.

Damaged barrels will be taken to a separate area, assessed, repaired, or disposed of.

“We couldn’t really send anyone into the unaffected side to pull out the barrels," Master Distiller Jacob Call said. "So the only safe way to do it was to take them down one at a time.”

Officials at the distillery say they're in uncharted territory with the clean up, because typically when a rickhouse collapses, the whole building goes down.

“I don’t know that it’s been done before," Call said. "So we’re kind of taking it slow and cautious, probably a little bit too cautious, but that’s okay.”

Officials still haven’t determined exactly what caused the collapse.

“It’s difficult to understand why it fell down," Simon Burch the CEO of the distillery said. "It was a very unusual and I would say, freak occurrence because of the weather.”

Distillery employees are glad no one got hurt and the damage was minimal.

“The support from the industry has been great," Call said. "I’ve had numerous phone calls from other distilleries asking how they can help and ask if we need anything. And yeah, a lot of good support.”

After O.Z. Tyler announced their clean up plans for the partially collapsed rickhouse, that also meant an extended road closure.

The people that live here have this right in their backyard and say the closed road isn’t the only inconvenience.

When the rickhouse tumbled to the ground Monday , Sydney Brake knew something was wrong, because her whole house shook.

“I hear a loud boom," says Brake. "I just kind of figured that it was a transformer that blew.”

Brake lives about as close as you can get to the dilapidated rickhouse, but the closed road is nothing short of a nuisance.

“This is my main way to get back and forth everywhere," explains Brake. "I live on the outside, so for me to have to drive through the neighborhood or drive all the way around is kind of an inconvenience.”

Ewing Road is expected to be closed for two to three months as this rickhouse is cleaned up.

As of June 21, O.Z. Tyler says they have completed the deconstruction process and are working to recover the barrels.

“We are very pleased with the progress moving into the weekend and realize it will take some time to remove all the barrels from the site, but our first concern, and priority, is safety," explained Call. "We have a great team in place that is closely monitoring every step of the process.”

The news release from the company says the damaged barrels will be assessed, repaired or disposed of. The bourbon will be re-barreled and moved to storage.

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