UNITED STATES – Following devastating tornadoes on December 10 that killed at least 88 people in the central United States, a candle factory is in the spotlight today.
The Mayfield Consumer Products (MCP) candle factory in the devastated small town of Mayfield, Kentucky, was the subject of all concern: the modern building, where 110 employees were supposed to be located on Friday night, had been transformed by the elements in a tangle of beams and twisted sheets, giving rise to fear of a very heavy toll.
But the company, after frantic searches in the rubble, was able to confirm that 94 of its employees were “alive and have been found”, announced Monday the governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear. “We feared it would be much worse,” he told a press conference, as eight people died in the destruction of the factory and eight remain missing.
Today, the managers of the plant still have to face fierce criticism from some employees. According to them, dSupervisors had threatened to fire employees if they left their jobs early to try to avoid the passage of tornadoes.
Elijah Johnson told NBC News that when he asked to leave earlier, one of his supervisors assured him he would be fired. “Even with a weather like this, are you still going to fire me?” The 20-year-old asked him. “Yes”, he was answered by his manager.
Mayfield Consumer Products spokesman Bob Furguson responded to NBC News, calling the allegations “absolutely false”. “Employees can leave at any time and they can come back the next day,” he said.
But according to five employees interviewed by NBC News, they were either told they couldn’t leave or hadn’t been told verbally that they had a choice.
Shelter in the toilet rather than taking your car
Additionally, company CEO Troy Propes said employees had to take shelter in the factory washrooms, which had concrete walls with no windows and a steel roof, as management did not want send them in the storm, according to the news site Kentucky.com.
″Everyone knew about the bad weather. But as we are all taught, even when we’re kids the first thing you do is not get in your car, ”said Troy Propes.
However, after the team leaders mistakenly thought the tornado was no longer a danger, they fired everyone to work.
When the tornado struck, forklift operator Mark Saxton told NBC News that the tiles and concrete at the plant began to fall.
“Everyone started to run, I fell to the ground. I put myself in a fetal position and the concrete slab fell on me ”, he recalls, he who finally found himself on the collapsed roof of the building after the passage of the tornado.
He survived with minor cuts and bruises. But he still remains haunted by the way he was treated by his superiors. “It hurts, because I feel like we’ve been neglected,” he concludes.
Another controversy arose in a factory after the passage of tornadoes. After at least six people were killed in an Amazon warehouse with a collapsed roof in Edwardsville, Ill., It emerged that employees were not entitled to their cell phones at their workstations, so that some never knew that an emergency alert asking them to take shelter as soon as possible had been sent there, relates this article from the World.
Amazon workers were packing Christmas packages when tornadoes struck: 6 dead.
Le Monde notes with a lot of modesty that employees were not entitled to their cellphones – and therefore did not receive disaster alerts https://t.co/9dklh6DBWWpic.twitter.com/XrTZi1sPsl
– Grégoire Orain (@Grgrrn) December 13, 2021
See also on The HuffPost: In Kentucky, the chilling message of this survivor under the rubble of her factory