Politics

Candle Factory Worker Describes Being Trapped by Debris


  • Kyanna Parsons-Perez was working at the Mayfield Consumer Products factory when a tornado caused the roof to collapse.
  • The collapse resulted in “mass casualties,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.
  • Parsons-Perez told Insider that she was trapped under “at least 5-feet” of debris and in “so much pain.”

A woman who worked at the candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, destroyed by a tornado, told Insider that she was in “so much pain” while trapped under rubble on Friday night.

The tornado, one of several that tore through parts of the Midwest, caused the roof of the Mayfield Consumer Products factory to cave in and resulted in “mass casualties,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on Saturday. 

Kyanna Parsons-Perez, who had been working at the factory for just over a month, described to Insider how “everything just collapsed on her” while she was on shift.

“I was suddenly stuck under a lot of debris,” she said during a phone call with Insider. She said an emergency responder estimated that she was buried under at least five feet of debris.

“What really hurt was that my body was in a very awkward position,” Parsons-Perez continued. “There was a water fountain on top of my legs. It had them pinned down.”

Shortly after, she said that her legs began to “tingle.” 

“Then I couldn’t feel them,” Parsons-Perez continued. “It was just so uncomfortable and I was in so much pain.” 

She explained how she started to panic but tried to “get it together” for a colleague who had temporarily lost consciousness.

In a dramatic video shared to Facebook, Parsons-Perez said she was “trying to be cool” but added that she was “really scared.”

Parsons-Perez told Insider that she almost didn’t go to work because it was her 40th birthday.

She said she regrets having gone in and added that her employers, “knowing the weather,” should have cautioned workers to stay at home. “They knew what was coming,” she said. “Once we were there…. we were pretty much doomed.”

The tornado also wrecked the cars in the factory’s parking lot, she said, with employees’ vehicles “piled up.”

Without cars and jobs, she said that Christmas will be a difficult time for many of the factory’s workers. “Most of us that work there, we have families,” she said. “Just keep us in your prayers.”

Parsons-Perez, a single mother of four children, added that she “needs the money to be able to provide” for her family. 

Now, back at her home in Paducah, Kentucky, about a 40-minute drive away from the candle factory, the 40-year-old said she is “a little banged up” but is counting her blessings. “I’m just glad to be alive,” she said. 



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