• U.S.

CORPORATIONS: Disaster at the Distillery

1 minute read

Lightning laced the sky at Pekin, Ill. (pop. 22,000) one night last week as a thunderstorm rolled over American Distilling Co.’s plant outside town. At 2:30 a.m., a lightning bolt crackled into a rack house full of 100-proof whisky and started a fire that quickly spread to three other buildings. In all, 40,000 barrels—equal to 8,000,000 fifths—of Good Old Guckenheimer, and Bourbon Supreme and other brands were destroyed. Firemen stood helplessly outside a ring of flames so intense that a coal pile 100 yards away began to smolder.

As they watched, the fire became a disaster. Without warning, another warehouse with 56,000 barrels blew up with a roar that could be heard 75 miles away, and came-crashing down in blazing piles 50 feet deep. By the time the fire was finally under control, American had lost close to 100,000 barrels of whisky, sustained damages of more than $7,000,000. Burrowing into the wreckage, firemen found the bodies of six American workers to add to the 30-odd injured.

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