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Kentucky Candle Factory Workers Are Suing, Claim They Weren’t Allowed To Leave Before Tornado

 Several workers who were injured when a Mayfield, Kentucky, candle factory collapsed due to a tornado are suing their employer, claiming they were told they’d be fired if they left the factory before the tornado hit – a claim their employer denies.

WLKY-TV reported that the lawsuit argues the factory, owned by Mayfield Consumer Products, had “up to three and half hours before the tornado hit its place of business to allow its employees to leave its worksite as safety precautions.” The factory, the lawsuit claims, showed “flagrant indifference to the rights” of its workers by refusing their requests to leave and going so far as to threaten to fire those who left their shifts early.

WLKY-TV also reported: “The lawsuit also alleges serious violations of worker safety laws and a massive cover-up scheme to protect the interest of the candle factory in western Kentucky. One of the attorneys representing the survivors, William Davis, calls the factory ‘a modern-day sweatshop.’”

As The Daily Wire previously reported, 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.

The Daily Wire also reported that 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.”

The Daily Wire previously reported that 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.

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