Distillery destroyed in Sunday fire

Published 8:50 am Tuesday, June 14, 2022

A Sunday morning explosion at a new distillery in Rice destroyed one structure and left the owner seriously injured.

At 9:38 a.m. on Sunday, June 12, the Rice Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services responded to a call of a fire at the Sandy River Distillery, 147 Monroe Church Road.

According to Chief Wes Reams, the fire was the result of an explosion in the distillery. A storage container distilling whiskey exploded and caused the metal storage container it was housed in to catch fire. The Rice Fire Department was able to contain the fire to the distillery within an hour and a half of the call, with the tasting room remaining intact.

According to Reams, the only injury reported is distillery owner Mark Smith, who was in the facility during the explosion and was blown from the building. At this time, no further investigation is planned.

According to a Facebook post from Sandy River Adventure Park, Smith is currently at the VCU Burn Center for second-degree burns on his back and legs. In the post the family expressed appreciation for the support they have received from the community.

According to Sandy River Adventure Park’s office manager, Sarah Detrick, the office is not ready to speak further about the event at this time. There is currently no plan on when the distillery will reopen.

The Sandy River Distillery is located on the property of Sandy River Adventure Park and opened its doors on May 20.