LYNCHBURG, Tenn. (WTVF) — Down at Jack Daniel’s in Lynchburg, they pride themselves on making great whiskey, but a select number of Jack Daniel’s employees also pride themselves on keeping the distillery and town safe from any potential fires.
Lynchburg has a volunteer fire department, but Jack Daniel’s also has a volunteer fire brigade.
“Our 34 volunteer firefighters are on-call 24/7 and they’re ready to perform if needed,” Chris Fletcher, assistant master distiller for Jack Daniel’s, said. “We have employees from bottling to distilling to even IT, and they come in and train every Monday. They’re state certified.”
The Jack Daniel’s Fire Brigade has been around for decades, prepared to fight any fire that may break out, and they receive special training due to how different alcohol fires can be to other fires, and they have a special training area to practice fighting those fires.
“We can stage potential alcohol fires, so not only does our team get classroom training, certifications, they also have active firefighting against an alcohol fire here in Lynchburg,” Fletcher said.
While luckily the Jack Daniel’s Fire Brigade has never been called in to fight a fire at the distillery, a fire at a Jim Beam warehouse was a wake-up call that they could be called into action at anytime.
At Jim Beam, one of their warehouses was struck by lightning, and it burned up 45,000 barrels of whiskey, sending some of that whiskey into a nearby river that killed a large population of fish.
“We go to every length and every precaution to be as prepared as possible in case something like that were to happen,” Fletcher explained, adding that they have top-of-the-line equipment and fire trucks. “We’ve never had a fire here, we’ve never really had to use these other than for training purposes, and we hope we never do, but we’ll be ready.”
The fire trucks are equipped not only with the capability to spray water, but also dry chemicals and foam to help extinguish an alcohol fire.
The buildings at Jack Daniel’s also have sensitive smoke detection and lightning suppression systems in hopes to prevent or catch a fire early.
Beyond the buildings owned by Jack Daniel’s itself, the fire brigade can respond to fires in Lynchburg as well to assist Lynchburg’s volunteer fire department.
“Some of our public buildings, school system, nursing home, things like that,” Fletcher said, adding that for the people who work at Jack Daniel’s, Lynchburg is more than just a town. “Almost all of our employees have family connections here, so it’s very much a family thing and a generational thing, and I think that pride of making great whiskey here in Lynchburg, it extends beyond the actual making of the whiskey, it’s also about protecting what we do and being able to control any incident that may or may not arise.”
Jack Daniel’s will bring out their fire trucks for parades and other special events throughout the year.