The number of people missing at a candle factory in Mayfield, Ky. After a devastating tornado was reduced on Sunday evening after company officials said most of the workers had now been found.
Troy Propes, CEO of Mayfield Consumer Products, said in an interview that eight employees were dead and six were still missing – far fewer than the 70 initially considered missing after Friday night’s storm.
In the first hours after the storm, it looked like “dozens and dozens of people were in the rubble,” said Bob Ferguson, spokesperson for the candle company. “Thank goodness that’s not true. “
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said earlier Sunday that 110 employees were in the plant at the time of the disaster and only 40 people had been rescued. He said state officials had not confirmed any new figures provided by the company.
“I pray that the initial estimates of those we lost may be wrong,” Mr Beshear said. There has been no “live rescue” at the plant since 3:30 p.m. Saturday, he said.
Mr Ferguson said the manufacturing plant suffered damage from an unusually strong tornado.
“Looks like it’s the strongest tornado to ever hit Kentucky,” he said in an interview. “Early reports indicate this tornado has been on the ground longer than any tornado in history. How can we anticipate something like this? It is a true and true act of God.
At least six people were killed in an Amazon warehouse in Illinois. Officials in Edwardsville, Ill. Said on Sunday there were no further reports of missing persons inside the Amazon facility, but efforts to find additional victims continued .
Mr Beshear has prepared the public for the news of more deaths in the days to come. At least four counties in Kentucky have “double-digit” death tolls, Mr. Beshear said. “The best I think we could hope for would be fifty, but I think it’s going to be a lot worse than that.”
“We are still finding bodies” and “we have dead dogs in towns where they shouldn’t have to be,” Mr Beshear said.
In Warren County, where around 12 people were killed, including several children, the process of identifying victims has been slowed down as those who could make those identifications are recovering from injuries sustained in the storm on their own, according to County Coroner Kevin Kirby.
“There are a lot of injuries and in hospitals,” Mr Kirby said in an interview on Sunday afternoon.
The largest tornado to ravage six states, says Beshear “To ultimately be the longest tornado in US history, from the time it touched down until the time it finally resumed.”
Of the more than 220 miles of destruction caused by the tornado, he said, “200 of them are in my condition, along with our people who suffered. “
At least three tornadoes are believed to have hit Kentucky on Friday night, the governor said, adding: “I think we now believe many, many more.”
At least 300 members of the National Guard have been deployed to the state, the governor said. They go door to door, he says, even though many of these communities no longer have doors. They go from rubble to rubble, ”in search of survivors and other victims.
More than $ 2 million has been donated to help with recovery efforts, the governor said. The first installment of grants would be given to help cover funeral costs, he said.
The tornadoes ravaged parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee, said Bill Bunting, chief of operations at the Storm Prediction Center, which is part of the National Weather Service.
Amazon’s warehouse is located in Edwardsville, Illinois, a small town across the Mississippi River and from St. Louis. A direct hit from a tornado around 8:30 p.m. Friday night caused two of the building’s 40-foot-high concrete walls to collapse, officials said.
“We don’t expect anyone to survive,” said James Whiteford, chief of the Edwardsville fire department. The chef said the tornado came about during a shift change and it was not clear how many people would have been in the building.