Staff at a local candle factory, destroyed by the Kentucky tornadoes, were told they’d be fired if they fled to safety…
It comes after several Kentucky counties were left destroyed by tornadoes that ravaged the state.
Scroll on for the full story…
More than seventy people have died after tornadoes stormed across the south and midwest of the US over the weekend, and the casualties continue to rise…
Around 30 tornadoes have been estimated to have torn through Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, and Arkansas resulting in complete devastation in many towns.
Speaking in a press conference on Saturday, President Joe Biden said they will do “whatever is needed” to help those affected by the devastation, CNBC reports.
“The federal government will do everything, everything it can possibly do to help,” Biden said. “I promise you, whatever is needed, whatever is needed, the federal government is going to find a way to supply it.”
In a tweet, Biden also added they are “working with Governors” to ensure that states “have what they need.”
“This morning, I was briefed on the devastating tornadoes across the central U.S. To lose a loved one in a storm like this is an unimaginable tragedy. We’re working with Governors to ensure they have what they need as they search for survivors and damage assessments continue.”
During a press conference on Monday, Kentucky Governor, Andy Beshear confirmed that the death total is continuing to rise.
He also said that sadly at least 109 people remain unaccounted for.
“I’m really sorry,” Beshear said, the Daily Mail reports.
“You’re not supposed to lose people like this, and to not know and not have the information has got to make it that much harder.”
Beshear, estimated over the weekend that the death toll could reach as high as a hundred.
“Earlier this morning at about 5 am we were pretty sure that we would lose over 50 Kentuckians,” he said. “I am now certain that that number is north of 70, it may in fact end up exceeding 100 before the day is done.”
“This has been one of the toughest nights in Kentucky history,” he said during a press conference.
“The damage is even worse now that we have first light. But everywhere along the line of this tornado that touched down and stayed down for over for 227 miles has been severely and significantly impacted.”
The governor added the town of Mayfield in far western Kentucky had been badly affected as a roof collapse in a factory had resulted in “mass casualties.”
It has now been confirmed that at least 8 workers have been killed at the candle factory, Mayfield Consumer Products, where night shift workers were allegedly forced to remain by supervisors.
News of the storm quickly spread around the factory, just hours before tragedy struck…
More than a dozen workers were said to have asked supervisors if they could shelter at home, only to be denied, allegedly being told they’d be fired if they left the building.
Despite being told “no,” many left as the storm continued to get worse…
Sadly, those left behind suffered a devastating fate as the building collapsed around them.
According to the Daily Mail, night shift worker, Autumn Kirks, luckily managed to survive the ordeal by fashioning a make-shift shelter out of materials around the factory floor…
Sadly, her boyfriend wasn’t so lucky. Lannis Ward was on the same shift as Kirks and got swept up in the tornado just meters away from where she was taking cover.
Later that day she found out that Ward had tragically died.
Although the danger was clear, many workers have since shared that they were told they couldn’t leave by management.
Another worker, McKayla Emery, said people asked to leave when the sirens sounded at around 5:30 p.m.
Emery told NBC News: “People had questioned if they could leave or go home.”
Emery claims to have overheard on team leader say: “If you leave, you’re more than likely to be fired.”
“I heard that with my own ears,” she added.
Shortly after, the storm got closer causing the lights to flicker before a block of concrete came crashing down on top of her.
“I kid you not, I heard a loud noise and the next thing I know, I was stuck under a cement wall,” she said. “I couldn’t move anything. I couldn’t push anything. I was stuck.”
Employee Latavia Halliburton also confirmed the rumours, saying: “Some people asked if they could leave, but managers told them they would be fired.”
Another employee, Haley Conder also shared that managers told her: “You can’t leave. You can’t leave. You have to stay here.” Adding: “The situation was bad. Everyone was uncomfortable.”
Mark Saxton, who was also working that night said he too wasn’t allowed to leave…
“That’s the thing. We should have been able to leave. The first warning came, and they just had us go in the hallway. After the warning, they had us go back to work. They never offered us to go home.
“It hurts, ’cause I feel like we were neglected,” he added.
However, the company has since denied these allegations…
Bob Ferguson, a spokesman for the company, said: “It’s absolutely untrue.” Adding: “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.”
“Those protocols are in place and were followed,” he said.
Our thoughts are with all those who died and have been affected by the tragedy.