The sky above Louisville, Kentucky, was full of black smoke Friday morning as a six-alarm fire at a General Electric manufacturing facility burned for hours. No injuries were reported and all employees have been accounted for, but people who live nearby were asked to stay indoors to avoid the fumes. Residents told the Courier-Journal that ashes and pieces of insulation were falling even miles away.
Local officials said the GE Appliance Park fire will likely destroy the entire building. "The structure has collapsed," Jefferson County fire service chief Kevin Tyler told NBC News. "We have 18 different fire districts throughout Jefferson County on the scene."
It is unclear what caused the fire, which started around 7:30 a.m. Friday in building 6, a storage facility. The park itself is about 1,000 acres and has 6,000 workers -- about 50 of whom would normally be inside. However, Friday was a company holiday, according to KMOV.
GE spokeswoman Kim Freeman said other buildings on site were evacuated out of caution. The Los Angeles Times reported that "small explosions" were audible.
Extreme flooding was complicating the firefighting efforts. The Louisville area has gotten up to seven inches of rain, causing local officials to issue a flash flood warning through 8 p.m. Friday. The storms could drop four more inches of rain, with wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour. "We're currently dealing with two significant emergency situations in our community," Mayor Greg Fischer said at a news conference.
Some residents have been evacuated due to floods, and several streets have been closed due to the conditions. "It's crazy out there," Jody Duncan, spokeswoman for Louisville Metrosafe, told the Courier-Journal.
As the fire raged Friday morning, "GE Appliance Park" trended nationally on Twitter. Dozens of people near Louisville tweeted photos of the smoke and flames. See a few of the most noteworthy pictures below:
— John Galt (@JohnGGalt) April 3, 2015
— Courier-Journal.com (@courierjournal) April 3, 2015
GE Appliance park 6 on fire. Fallen ash debris at my house.. pic.twitter.com/duw0ZAyHDK
— Jennifer Price-Meers (@twistedgal03) April 3, 2015
My sisters fiance is right next to the GE Appliance Park. Sending National Guard to help. Pretty crazy. pic.twitter.com/SnZtgSaZtj
— Chris Setters (@chrissetters) April 3, 2015
— Peter Hall (@PeteWeatherBeat) April 3, 2015