Louisville ordered demolition of warehouse months before large fire

A city code inspector ordered an emergency demolition after the fire department requested an inspection of the property.
Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 3:55 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It took 60 firefighters hours to get the burning warehouse fire at S. 13th and Hill Streets under control Friday.

Now, WAVE has learned the building has been on the city’s radar for some time.

The fire department raised safety concerns following a routine fire safety inspection in March with the code enforcement office.

The fire department asked the city to inspect the property, which an inspector did so in May.

That inspector found a roof that was collapsing, noting a crack running the length of the brick smokestack.

They ordered the building torn down, but that has been caught up in court since July.

Deed records show Iron Works of Bardstown bought the property in 2020 for $310,000.

It then put a $270,000 ten-year mortgage on the property the same day.

The inspector found the building posed a danger to the road, sidewalk, railroad tracks, and power lines. They said the building was unstable and unsafe and issued an emergency demolition order.

That set in motion plans for the city to tear the building down if the owner wouldn’t.

Iron Works sued the city in July, saying it had hired a structural engineer and could make repairs but needed time.

It also said tearing the building down would cost more than it paid for the property.

Metro argued it has to worry about public safety, not just a business’s financial concerns.

The court is set to hear an update on the case Wednesday morning.

Neither Iron Works nor its attorney returned WAVE’s phone messages on Monday.

Meanwhile, fire investigators are gathering surveillance footage and interviewing witnesses as they try to learn why this building went up in smoke.

The codes office will send another inspector out to conduct a follow up inspection. Realistically, a major fire won’t have improved its condition.