Stray couches, flammable materials to be removed ahead of Thursday’s UK Sweet 16 game

A fire is set on fire after UK’s sweet sixteen upset victory against Ohio St. on State Street on March 26, 2011 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Brandon Goodwin | Staff File Photo 

Rick Childress

State Street is known as the hot spot for clandestine, and sometimes violent, victory celebrations. Lexington is taking preparatory actions ahead of UK basketball’s Sweet Sixteen game on Thursday. 

Couches and other flammable materials will be removed from State Street, and other downtown student housing areas both before and during the celebrations by Code Enforcement, and other several other city departments, Lexington Police Assistant Chief Melissa Sedlaczek said.

“If we see something that day that looks like it could be a fire hazard, we’re going to take action to prevent that as best we can—keeping in mind what we can do safely in crowd situations,” Sedlackzek said to the media Monday.

Sedlackzek said that officers have been going door to door, reminding residents in the State Street area of what they “can and can’t do.”

“In the years past, the students have been very receptive to us and have been very cooperative,” said Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers.

Police will be present on State Street Thursday and possibly Saturday night, and Weathers said they will not be afraid to step in if things get out of hand.

“We’re going to interact, we’re going to be part of it,” Weathers said. “Where a strong word is necessary, that’s what we’re going to do. And if more is necessary than that, then we’re going to be able to do that too.”

Weathers also said that the officers will be there to help if it’s needed, and he offered a bit of advice to students who plan to celebrate with the crowd.

“Be responsible, take care of one another,” Weathers said. “And this isn’t about somebody getting hurt or anybody getting hurt, it’s about going out there and having fun and cheering on the Wildcats.”

UK is scheduled to tipoff Thursday against Kansas State at 9:37 p.m. Should they win, the Cats will play again Saturday night.