Kentucky Candle Factory Employees Reportedly Told They’d Be Fired If They Left Work Ahead Of Deadly Tornado
An aerial view of a business in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, on December 14, 2021, four days after tornadoes hit the area. - Kentucky officials voiced relief December 13 that dozens of workers at a candle factory appear to have survived tornadoes that killed at least 88 people and left a trail of devastation across six US states.

Several employees who worked at the Mayfield, Kentucky, candle factor that was destroyed by Friday night’s tornadoes said they were told they would be fired if they left their shifts early.

NBC News reported that at least five workers “said supervisors warned employees that they would be fired if they left their shifts early.” Around 15 workers, who were aware the storm was coming, had approached managers and asked if they could leave so they could shelter at home. Their requests were denied, but some decided to leave work early anyway.

Bob Ferguson, a spokesperson for Mayfield Consumer Products, denied that employees were told they would be fired if they left their shifts early ahead of the tornado.

“It’s absolutely untrue,” Ferguson said. “We’ve had a policy in place since Covid began. Employees can leave any time they want to leave and they can come back the next day.”

Ferguson also said managers wouldn’t have told employees they risked their jobs by leaving early, saying supervisors are required to undertake emergency drills, and that employees have access to hazard pay, grief counseling, and more.

As The Daily Wire reported, more than 90 of the 110 workers who were in the factory when it collapsed have been found alive. Eight have been confirmed dead, with another eight still missing.

Ferguson, the spokesperson, told the Associated Press that more than 90 people have been located, even though officials initially told the outlet that just 40 of the workers had been accounted for. Ferguson expressed hope that the eight missing would be found alive.

“Many of the employees were gathered in the tornado shelter and after the storm was over they left the plant and went to their homes,” he said. “With the power out and no landline they were hard to reach initially. We’re hoping to find more of those eight unaccounted as we try their home residences.”

As The Daily Wire previously reported, the candle factory was one of the many buildings destroyed after tornadoes and severe weather swept across the Midwest Friday night.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said at a news conference on Saturday that around 110 people were inside the factory when the tornado struck, the Associated Press reported.

“We believe our death toll from this event will exceed 50 Kentuckians and probably end up 70 to 100,” he said at a news conference Saturday. “It’s very hard, really tough, and we’re praying for each and every one of those families.”

One factory employee, Kyana Parsons-Perez, was “trapped under five feet (about 1.5 meters) of debris for at least two hours until rescuers managed to free her,” the AP reported. She told “The Today Show” that this was the “absolutely the most terrifying” thing she had ever experienced, adding, “I did not think I was going to make it at all.”

Parsons-Perez explained that employees had been gathered in a section of the factory meant for storm emergencies. She said the lights started to flicker and “all of a sudden,” they felt a gust of wind and her ears started popping as if she were in an airplane. She said everything started swaying and then the roof collapsed.

“All I heard was screams,” she said as images of the destruction was shown on screen.

Parson-Perez also explained that some local prisoners worked at the factor as part of a work-release program with the prison, and that they were “working their tails off” to help rescue their coworkers.

“They could have used that moment to try to run away or anything, but they did not. They were there, helping us,” she said.

CNN posted footage of the factory with rescue crews working to save those who were trapped. The images show the flattened remains of the building, with nothing to identify what it once was.

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