Louisville firefighters battle downtown commercial building fire

LFD crews were called late Wednesday night to the 400 block of West Market Street.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 6:11 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 6:16 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Arson investigators are working to figure out what caused a five-story commercial building to catch on fire overnight.

The Louisville Fire Department received a call late Wednesday night about smoke in the 400 block of West Market Street.

Fire crews got there within two minutes.

“The initial call was just smoke in the area,” Louisville Fire Chief Brian O’Neill said. “As soon as our people showed up, we had a building fully involved. They immediately started hearing a second alarm, right away. We have over 100 firefighters here.”

Flames and smoke erupted into the night sky as firefighters arrived. No floor of the largely vacant five-story building was spared including a ground-level restaurant.

One firefighter was sent to the hospital. He was treated and released for minor injuries.

Traffic impacted Thursday morning commuters and local businesses.

“Firemen everywhere,” Robert Jones of Derby City Tobacco and Liquor said. " It seemed like I was walking into something I shouldn’t be walking into.”

Three doors down from the fire, Pokehana owner Sang Lee’s lunchtime crowd was nowhere to be found.

”Normally we have from 11:30 to 11:45, a line of people to the door,” Lee said.

In the daylight, drone video revealed the extent of the damage. What you see from the street is just a fraction of what was lost. It appears no part of the building was spared.

The fire is under investigation. It is not known if the century-old building can be saved.