Tornadoes devastate Mayfield, Kentucky, with fears 'dozens' are dead after candle factory collapses with 110 inside

MORE than 50 people are feared dead in Kentucky after one of the most severe tornado events in the state’s history, with hundreds trapped in a factory in Mayfield.

According to Governor Andy Beshear, the death toll could be in the hundreds as Mayfield, Graves County was destroyed after a category five tornado swept across the state in the late hours of December 10.

More than 30 tornadoes have been reported in at least six states. with a 200 mile stretch from Arkansas to Kentucky being hit by one violent, long-track twister.

The extent of destruction will not be known fully for hours, but videos emerging show flattened buildings, overturned vehicles, and workers scouring rubble for trapped people.

The Governor for Kentucky, Andy Beshear, declared a state of emergency after expressing his concerns in a press briefing earlier today.

He said: "We believe our death toll from this event will exceed 50 Kentuckians, probably end up closer to 70 to 100 lost lives.

Mayfield was reportedly hit the hardest, as a tornado wiped out a candle factory on Friday night where approximately 110 people were trapped inside, as Gov. Bershear added: "We believe we'll lose at least dozens of those individuals."

Video from Mayfield showed what remained of the factory: a massive debris field, largely of twisted metal, several feet high.

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Other buildings hit in Mayfield, a city of around 10,000 people, include the Graves County courthouse and adjoining jail.

One video emerged of a woman trapped in the candle factory in Mayfield, telling her followers “I’m so scared” as she says she hopes her children will not see the videos.

Kyanna Parsons-Perez, who has since been rescued from the building, told NBC about the terrifying ordeal.

She said everyone was “getting down, taking cover” and then suddenly, her ears started popping: “like, you know when you’re on the plane?”

Then, she said, the lights went out “and then before you know it, it was like the building rocked and collapsed and we fell down.” comparing the factory to a “house of cards”.

She said that everyone inside the factory "screamed and prayed", as she said she thought she was going to die.


Kentucky emergency management director Michael Dossett added that this was "one of the darkest days in the state's history."

He said: "This will be one of the most significant, the most extensive disasters that Kentucky has faced."

Bearshear concluded his briefing, saying: "We will make it through this. We will rebuild, we are strong, resilient people."

He said four tornadoes, one of which stayed on the ground for more than 200 miles after touching down, had swept through the state leaving almost 60,000 Kentuckians without power.

Among the most significant damage, an Amazon warehouse in western Illinois collapsed trapping 100 workers inside and a nursing home in Arkansas collapsed killing one person.

The total number of fatalities is not yet known. Three people are confirmed to have died in Tennessee, with one death confirmed in Missouri, as flash floods are causing significant damage to counties across Kentucky.

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