- Some 110 people were working at Mayfield Consumer Products in Kentucky when the building collapsed Friday night.
- The family-owned company makes branded candles and home fragrance products.
- About 40 people have been rescued from the rubble.
A candle factory in Kentucky where workers were trapped when extreme tornadoes ripped through the area had been looking to hire more employees and was operating a second shift with more than 100 people in the building when the severe weather hit.
About 40 people have been rescued from the rubble, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said during a Saturday press conference. About 110 people were working in the facility when the storms arrived and at least 70 people are feared dead across the state, he said.
The factory — owned by Mayfield Consumer Products, a family-owned business that produces branded candles and home fragrance products — was among the hardest hit locations, as tornadoes and severe weather hit multiple states late Friday, causing catastrophic damage.
According to local reports, crews were at the scene of the Mayfield factory early Saturday to rescue employees stuck among the ruins. Video of Mayfield shows the town partially leveled by the severe weather.
Callie Lemle, the wife of Graves County Economic Development President Jason Lemle, told WPSD Local 6 that she was unsure how many people were trapped, but said people were digging through the rubble to free trapped staffers. She said help was needed and encouraged volunteers to come bringing gloves, headlamps, and equipment.
—Brett Adair (@AlaStormTracker) December 11, 2021
In a harrowing video posted on Facebook, Mayfield employee Kyanna Lou documented her experience of being trapped behind a wall along with several colleagues after the roof collapsed.
“I’m really scared, I’m trying to be cool, but I’m really scared,” Lou says in the video. She was later rescued.
Mayfield Consumer Products was founded in 1988 by the Propes family and is helmed by CEO Troy Propes. The company, which brings in an estimated annual revenue of $28.97 million, employs more than 245 people and manufacturers candles and fragrances for several brands.
The company has a number of violations listed on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website from a September 2019 inspection, including citations for lack of proper electrical protective equipment and respiratory protection. Mayfield also has a violation for lack of “maintenance, safeguards, and operational features for exit routes,” OSHA records indicate.
Mayfield Consumer Products did not immediately respond to Insider’s request to comment.
On its website, the company said it was hiring, with “many openings” for production positions on the first and second shift.
In 2018, the company announced it was investing $8.3 million in development that would create more than 50 jobs. The effort was praised by former Kentucky governor Matt Bevin, who said at the time the job would “provide a significant boost to the local economy.”
“Mayfield Consumer Products has been a great employer and strong corporate citizen for the past 20 years, and we are grateful for the company’s decision to continue expanding here in Kentucky,” Bevin said in a statement in 2018.