SATURDAY UPDATE: The interim chief of the Lexington Fire Department says no one was hurt in a massive fire that destroyed seven acres of a beef cattle auction company and several nearby businesses.
The fire destroyed the Blue Grass Stockyards off S. Forbes Road in Lexington. Chief Operating Officer Jim Akers said about 20 beef cattle were inside. He said he did not see how they could have survived. The company was celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.
Interim Fire Chief Harold Hoskins said the wind was a major factor as it quickly spread throughout the wooden facility. Hoskins said the fire crossed the street and consumed about one block worth of businesses, including destroying many cars that were parked at a towing company. Several of the cars exploded during the worst of the blaze.
The fire sent thick, black smoke into the air that darkened the skies on a mostly cloudless day in Lexington. The smoke was visible for miles, and many people gathered along Leestown Road to watch. Hoskins said it was the biggest fire in his 33 years with the fire department. About 120 firefighters battled the flames. None were injured.
Lexington's Blue Grass Stockyards are on fire, and a reporter heard a series of explosions coming from the area.
Lexington Fire Department spokesman Joe Best says the blaze is one of the largest he has seen in his 25 years with the department.
Best says a call came in to the department about 2:20 p.m. Around that time, Associated Press reporter Adam Beam saw thick black smoke coming from the area and heard explosions.
Best says he does not yet know whether there have been any injuries to humans or animals.
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