Mayor Newberry: "Herculean Effort" From Firefighters

Police had to evacuate several blocks of downtown Lexington on Thursday morning as fire crews worked to put out a raging fire at a business that housed pyrotechnics.

Mayor Jim Newberry lifted that evacuation order at around 1:00 p.m. because the fire was under control at that time. People were then allowed back into their homes.

Mayor Newberry held a press conference on Thursday afternoon with other city officials to dissuss the response. Mayor Newberry called the response a "herculean effort" and said despite the heat, only one firefighter suffered heat exhaustion.

The mayor was also thankful for a response from the Salvation Army, which made liquids and foods available for emergency crews.

The fire broke out a little after 9:30 at 218 Jefferson Street at the Star Light and Magic Company.

The company specializes in special effects and lighting fro magicians, including pyrotechnics. Our crew on the scene reported hearing several explosions inside the building.

It was a two alarm fire and dozens of firefighters were called in to battle the flames. Crews even used a ladder truck to fight the fire from above.

Thick smoke could be seen throughout the downtown area and at least one person had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Mayor Jim Newberry instructed police to evacuate people who live and work in the immediate area. The evacuation area included the blocks within Third, Second, Jefferson and Miller Streets. He says the evacuation was necessary because of the potential for a haz-mat situation.

People who are evacuated were able to take shelter at the Salvation Army at 736 West Main Street.


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  • by Me! Location: Ky on Jul 18, 2008 at 01:47 PM
    As someone close to LFD guys/gals......I am thankful no one was seriously hurt and I am PROUD of all the Dept. that were there. The heat of the day was bad enough but top that with a fire and turn-out gear and it had to have been unbearable. You guys rock!!!
  • by Anonymous Location: Lexington, KY on Jul 18, 2008 at 05:39 AM
    Firefighters/police did a great job and it is very good that no one was hurt. Having so many explosives in a downtown neighborhood area doesn't make sense. It's sad that some animals perished and one has to wonder the legality of having so many animals in one place that also was full of explosives.
  • by Chase Location: Knoxville, TN on Jul 17, 2008 at 07:01 PM
    Much appreciation is due the Lexington Fire Department for their efforts in battling the fire and protecting Lexington's citizens during the incident at Star Light and Magic. Mayor Newberry's recognition of their efforts as "Herculean" is certainly a good description. As a point of clarification regarding the video "Downtown Fire Forces Evacuation," it appears that of the 4 men Denny Trease identified as police officers helping wheelchair-bound residents evacuate the Jefferson Medical Rehab Facility and the Christian Care Adult Day Care Center, only 1 is a police officer. Two of the men lifting the person and their wheelchair in the video are wearing uniform shirts with what appear to be the LFD logo on the chest and no elements of a police uniform. The 3rd man lifting the patient appears to be the police officer. A 4th man in the picture, who appears to be coordinating the evacuation, is wearing a fire department turn-out coat. These 3 firefighters deserve the credit due them.
  • by Anonymous Location: Richmond,KY on Jul 17, 2008 at 03:17 PM
    This is a sad thing, but atleast no one was seriously injured. I do believe though a place like that does NOT need to be in a downtown area.

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