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Louisville struggles with two crises: Huge GE fire, flooding from storm

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Posted at 9:01 AM, Apr 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-03 12:42:46-04

More than 200 firefighters battled to control a massive blaze that erupted at General Electric's Appliance Park in Louisville, Ky., on Friday even as city officials also had to cope with flooding from severe storms.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer told reporters at a morning news conference that the city was coping with both disasters.

The fire, which went to six alarms, started in a non-production building, sending dense black smoke into the sky.
In an email to reporters, GE spokeswoman Kim Freeman also said the fire was contained to a building used for offices and storage and is also used by a private supplier distribution center.

"The fire is contained to Building 6 at this time," she said.

GE makes a range of appliances at the facility, including washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators.

Mayor Fischer said the area around the plant has been evacuated and urged drivers to heed police directions in the area and elsewhere in the city as traffic was being shifted because of the high waters due to severe storms.

"Everybody please stay away" from the fire area, said the mayor. "The roads need to be cleared so we can get there."

The city has received between six and seven inches of rain since 1 a.m. Friday, causing the flooding, Fischer said.

There have been 163 water rescues and 59 stranded motorists have been helped, he said.

No injuries have been reported because of the flooding.