More than 90 people who were working at a Mayfield, Kentucky, candle factory when it collapsed due to Friday night’s tornado have been accounted for.
The Associated Press reported that over 90 of the 110 people working Friday night have been located, but another eight remain missing. So far, eight have been confirmed dead in the tragedy.
Bob Ferguson, spokesperson for Mayfield Consumer Products, told the AP 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.
Kentucky Gov. Beshear declared a state of emergency and said he activated the national guard and requested federal assistance.
“This has been one of the toughest nights in Kentucky history and some areas have been hit in ways that are hard to put into words. To all of our Kentucky families that are impacted by this, we want you to know that we are here for you, we love you, and we are praying for you,” he said.
“We will get make it through this, we will rebuild,” Beshear added. “We are strong, resilient people, and we will be there every step of the way.”