Flood, Fire, and Loss

Until this past week, I’d never heard of a six-alarm fire. 

Fire at General Electric, Louisville, KY 4-3-2015
(Photos contributed by Leah Hamilton Cook)

Louisville, Kentucky residents had an eventful first few days of April. It’s usually pretty quiet as we wind down from winter, celebrate Easter, get ready for the Derby festivities. Our news photographs usually include the incredible hats of every color and design–the beautiful thoroughbreds arriving at Churchill Downs, and tulips swaying in the breeze.

But this year is…a little different.

On the morning of April 3rd, President Obama arrived in Louisville. Soon afterwards, we were hit by massive flooding–and in the midst of the floods–a huge building at General Electric burned to the ground. Top that off with Kentucky’s bone-jarring loss to Wisconsin in the Final Four, and you could use the word “devastation.”

If you’re interested, click this link for some pretty amazing photos of the flooding.

GE Fire, 4-3-2015 by LHC


It has been hinted at. Personally, I’m glad the president got out when he did, and was safe while here.

Over where I live, it was unhealthy to go outside. The smoke was so heavy from the fire at GE, it looked like dense fog, but smelled much worse. The heavy rain kept it close to the ground.

(Click here for some additional photos at WSJ)

GE Fire, 4-3-2015 by LHC

But the rain finally cleared, leaving in its wake, swollen streams, rivers, and drainage ditches. There were homes lost to flooding, numerous water rescues, and even bridges and highways washed out. Much of  Waterfront Park (the site of many of our Derby activities) was under water.

In the next few days, we would begin to see what it’s going to take to recover.

And many GE employees are getting an unexpected Spring break. Not only is it unsafe for them to return to work, but many of the parts they need to build their products burned up in the fire.

On top of all this, my husband is in mourning because his favorite team lost in the Final Four. After an amazing perfect season, the team that just couldn’t seem to lose, lost. His heart is broken. But he will recover. I’m glad not to have to watch the game tonight. I really don’t care who wins. It doesn’t matter, because Kentucky lost.

I’m proud of our University of Kentucky Wildcats. May the lessons learned this awesome season stay with you and serve you well in the coming years.

Louisville is resilient. We have bounced back from many disasters. Epic floods and tornadoes. By Derby Day, (barring another flood or tornado or devastating fire) I expect the cleanup will be complete enough to continue their usual activities. The ladies will don their beautiful hats, the thoroughbreds will prance and strut their stuff. And if the Ohio River drops to a safer level, the steamboats will race.

And Spring will truly have arrived in Louisville, Kentucky.

2 thoughts on “Flood, Fire, and Loss

  1. Nice post, Betty. I'm with your husband on being sad about the UK loss but as I told the people at church, it was good that Sunday was Easter to get our mind back on things that really matter. Louisville was hit hard last weekend with fire and water.


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