Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear gave an update on the deadly tornado that struck Kentucky late Friday night into early Saturday morning. The tornado was on the ground for over 200 miles, doing untold damage to towns, homes, and buildings.
One of the hardest-hit locations was a candle factory, which contained 110 people at the time of the tornado.
“We’re going to lose a lot of lives in that facility and I pray that there will be another rescue but it’s a very dire situation at this point,” Beshear admitted during a recent press conference. “Seeing it, I think it was absolutely incredible, the number that were saved. I think the largest loss of life in this tornado event is and will be there. It may be the largest loss of life in any tornado event in a single location, and again, in the state’s history.”
“I think the approximate count is 40 people that have been rescued,” Beshear reported. “Obviously there were sensitivities to let families know. We still hope and pray that there is some opportunity for others.”
Building Flattened, Corrosive Chemicals Leak, Death Toll Unprecedented
— Woody (@Knewz_Currently) December 11, 2021
Another Kentucky official stepped forward to discuss the destruction of the building after the tornado struck.
“It’s heavy machinery,” he said. “I mean, it’s the building, that’s flattened, it’s cars from the parking lot that’s on top of it, it’s metal drops from corrosive chemicals that were inside. It’s pretty awful to witness.”
When asked about the death toll, an official replied, “I can’t give you a hard number. I can tell you we’ve located a school bus from an apartment complex in the city. We were able to evacuate about 30 people from that facility. One person got out. He walked to station one. He let us know that there had been a structural collapse and there were people trapped and just from the one apartment complex we had about 30.”
He added that “Overnight, at MCP, there was a steady flow of walking wounded, rescues, we have been walking through the night, not just my department, but many departments. It’s dangerous out there. As the governor said, we just left, and I walked up, and as soon as I got within 15 feet of the rubble, I see 55-gallon drums with corrosive placards that are turned over, crushed, leaking out. The structure is just a pile of bent metal, steel, and machinery.”
Officials Rush To The Scene, Try To Save As Many Lives As They Can
UPDATE: At least five people were killed in the suspected tornadoes which barreled through Arkansas and Tennessee.
Kentucky’s governor says a roof collapse likely trapped workers inside a candle factory in Mayfield, possibly killing 50-100 people. pic.twitter.com/h043WphPSr
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) December 11, 2021
He reported that “The City of Paducah Fire Department worked all night rescuing victims. The city of Murray sent their team downtown to assist and they were able to save many victims. We had, at times, to crawl over casualties to get to live victims to get them out and mark those casualties as we worked our way through the rubble.”
“I certainly believe that across the state there have been hundreds of successful rescues,” Governor Beshear continued. “First reports are a good portion of Dawson Springs is gone. We’re setting up the National Guard to go door to door there. Muhlenberg County has lost at least ten individuals there and it wasn’t hit as hard as some others. [There is] damage in so many counties.”
He said that there have been fatalities reported in at least ten counties as rescue and recovery efforts continue throughout the state.
As The Blast previously reported, at least 24 tornados were reported in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee. An Amazon warehouse also suffered a roof collapse north of St. Louis. At least two fatalities have been reported there as emergency response teams work to free trapped workers from the rubble.