1,300 homes reached around chemical filled house; burn plan still being worked on

The city is using information from the residents to decide how many shelters to open and whether transportation needs to be provided.
Published: Aug. 4, 2023 at 4:00 PM EDT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - 120 emergency workers spread out in the Highview neighborhood gathering information from people impacted by the city’s plan to burn down the home full of chemicals and explosives on Applegate Lane.

The city is still drawing up its burn plan.

The mayor, LMPD recruits, and firefighters went to more than 1,300 homes in a mile-wide circle around the house at 6213 Applegate.

Metro’s Emergency Management Director believes they talked to people at half of those houses.

That’ll give them a clearer idea of how to get people out of there on the burn day.

“Whether they would need sheltering, if they had families, whether they had pets, whether they were ambulatory, non-ambulatory, whether they would need transportation,” Emergency Management Director Jody Meiman said.

He explained the city is taking all of the information emergency workers gathered during the neighborhood canvass Thursday into account as officials build the plan to burn down the home at 6213 Applegate. They’re using that information to figure out who may have to leave, and who can stay. Two JCPS schools and one private school are also waiting to hear from the city about what they may need to do depending on the day the burn is set.

“The day we do the burn, we can go out to those houses before then and make contact and get information to them, we may have missed,” Meiman said.

The city will host a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Highview Baptist Church at 7711 Fegenbush Lane. People who live, take care of someone, or work in the neighborhood are invited in person. They’ll need to bring an ID or a piece of mail showing their residency.

“We’re going to take several different models and with the technology, we can do plume modeling to see, so it could be further in one direction and more narrow in another direction,” Meiman said describing how a possible evacuation zone could be created.

A technical report created after the “bomb factory house” was burned outside San Diego, California 13 years ago showed the fire sent debris 75 feet away from the home on the ground. The smoke cloud rose 2,600 feet before dispersing. Planners here are watching the weather to make sure smoke from the chemicals doesn’t blanket the neighborhood.

“If we have clouds or rain, it’s going to crash that smoke back down into the neighborhood,” Meiman said. “So we want it very clear, low humidity, light winds that day, where that smoke is going to go up and dissipate into the atmosphere.”

The mayor has made it clear he will not approve a plan until he feels it has addressed every situation.

Much more about the burn will be released Monday once it’s ready to discuss with the neighbors around the home on Applegate.