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Fire at Mercer County Fairgrounds

HARRODSBURG - Getting knocked over by a tornado earlier this year wasn't enough. Now the arena at the Mercer County Fairgrounds has burned to the ground, leaving little of the grandstand. Harrodsburg Fire Department Capt. Terry Smith said the fire was reported about 2 a.m. today. The original report was that a barn was on fire. Smith said when the fire department arrived, the grandstand was under heavy fire and the firefighters went into defensive mode, trying to protect the remaining structures.

The four-alarm blaze brought the aid of Mercer Central, Burgin, Harrodsburg and Danville city fire departments. Danville was called in for assistance with an aerial fire truck. Smith and fair board officials were on scene this morning after daybreak to inspect the damage. They were waiting on a Kentucky State Police investigator and the state fire marshal to determine the cause of the blaze. Smith expected investigators to be at the scene by mid-morning.

Despite the extensive damage, fair board President LeMayne Ellis said the fair, which is in its 180th consecutive year, will go on. "It may have a little bit of a different appearance, but it will go on," Ellis said. Ellis said electricity had been turned off in the grandstand prior to the fire.

The destruction may not stop the fair from going on, but it will cause the Trainers Derby Classic to find another venue. The walking horse show was scheduled for this weekend.

Reprinted from the Danville Advocate Messenger.

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