According to TODAY, Autumn Kirks and her boyfriend, Joe Ward, had just started working at the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory, located in Mayfield, Kentucky, just weeks before the tornado devastated the small town. Both Kirks and Ward were working inside the factory when the storm ripped through. It took off the roof of the factory. More than 100 employees were inside the building at the time.
Kirk was able to make it out of the factory alive. But Ward, unfortunately, lost his life. Speaking to NBC News senior national correspondent, Kate Snow, Kirk declared she had a savior the night of the tornado. “I don’t know who it was. But he lifted a concrete wall off me and three of my girls. [He] got us out.”
Kirks also revealed that Ward had been within 10 feet of her when the tornado decimated the building. She then spoke about trying to be strong for their eight children. “That’s the only thing keeping me going right now is my kids.”
CEO of Mayfield Consumer Products, Tony Propes, told the media outlet that tornados are too unpredictable. They also hit too fast to have evacuated the factory in time. “If we believed that we could do anything differently, in hindsight, of course. I think all of us do something differently. It is such a gamble to say leave. Because the last thing you od, it says don’t get in your car. That’s what experts say.”
The White House Approves Emergency Declaration For Kentucky Following Devastating Tornado
Following the Kentucky Tornado, the White House announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The assistance will be used to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected but the tornado. It will also be used for those impacted by straight-line winds and flooding.
“The President’s action authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts to alleviate the hardship and surfing caused by the emergency,” The White House declared. Counties impacted are Breckenridge, Bullitt, Caldwell, Fulton, Graves, Grayson, Hickman, Hopkins, Lyon, Meade, and Muhlenberg. Ohio counties also affected are Shelby, Spencer, and Warren counties.
As of this morning, Kentucky Governor Beshear states that 64 people in the state are dead. More than 100 are still missing. NBC News reports that 18 of those who died of unable to be identified. “But the ones who have been identified range in age from five months to 86 years.”
The media outlet adds that rescuers are continuing to search for survivors.