EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) – Tornadoes and severe weather caused catastrophic damage across multiple states late Friday, killing at least six people overnight when a storm system tore through a candle factory. in Kentucky, an Amazon facility in Illinois and a nursing home in Arkansas. Kentucky Governor Says He’s Scared dozens of others may die.
Governor Andy Beshear said about 110 people were at the plant in Mayfield, Kentucky, when the tornado hit.
“We believe the death toll from this event will exceed 50 Kentuckians and will probably reach 70 to 100,” he said at a news conference on Saturday. “It’s been hard, really hard, and we’re praying for every single one of those families.”
Kyana Parsons-Perez, a factory worker, was trapped under 5 feet (about 1.5 meters) of debris for at least two hours until rescuers freed her.
In an interview with TODAY, she said that it was “Absolutely the scariest” events that she experienced. “I absolutely didn’t think I would make it.”
Just before the tornado hit, the building’s lights flickered. She felt a gust of wind, her ears began to “thump” and then, “Boom. Everything fell on us. People started screaming, and she heard Spanish workers praying in Spanish.
Among those who helped rescue trapped workers, she said, were inmates from nearby Graves County Jail.
“They could have used that moment to try to run away or whatever, but they didn’t. They were there, helping us,” she said.
At least two people died at an Amazon facility in Edwardsville, Illinois, police said. The roof of the building was ripped off and a wall the length of a football field collapsed.
Sheriff Mike Fillback told reporters Saturday morning that two people at the facility were airlifted to a hospital in St. Louis. The sheriff said he didn’t know how serious their injuries were. Edwardsville is a short walk from St. Louis about 25 miles (40 km) to the east.
It’s not clear whether the damage was caused by the storm going straight or by the tornado, but the National Weather Service office near St. Louis reported a “radar-confirmed tornado” in the Edwardsville area around the time of the collapse.
About 30 people in the building were taken by bus to the nearby Pontoon Beach police station for evaluation.
Early Saturday, rescue teams were still sorting through the wreckage. Fillback says the process can take a few more hours. Cranes and support shoes move debris.
Belleville News-Democrat reports that the Amazon fulfillment center in Edwardsville opened with two warehouses in 2016, with 1.5 million square feet (about 139,000 square meters) of space. Warehouses are used to store items until they are shipped to customers who order by mail.
“The safety and well-being of our employees and partners is our top priority right now,” Amazon spokesman Richard Rocha said in a written statement Friday night. . “We are assessing the situation and will share additional information as it becomes available.”
Workers at the National Weather Service office took shelter when a tornado passed near their office in Weldon Spring, Missouri, about a block from St. Louis about 30 miles (48 km) to the west. One person died and two others were injured in a building collapse near the towns of Defiance and New Melle, both just a few miles from the weather service office.
A tornado hit the Monette Manor nursing home in Arkansas on Friday night, killing two people and locked 20 people inside when the building collapsed, according to reports.
Five people were seriously injured, and several others suffered minor injuries, Craighead County Judge Marvin Day told The Associated Press. The nursing home has 86 beds.
Dean Flener, a spokesman for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, said three storm-related deaths have been confirmed in Tennessee. Two of the deaths occurred in Lake County, and the third was in Obion County – both in the northwest corner of the state.
In Kentucky, several buildings collapsed during the severe weather that hit Mayfield, said Sarah Burgess, a member of the Kentucky State Police.
“The whole building was basically leveled,” she said.
Farther east in Bowling Green, Western Kentucky University said on Twitter that emergency crews were assessing the storm’s significant damage and that no injuries were immediately reported. However, the school postponed the opening ceremonies that had been scheduled for Saturday because the campus was without electricity.
“It’s clear we’ve suffered damage from high winds,” said Ronnie Ward, police spokeswoman Bowling Green.
Rescue efforts in Bowling Green and elsewhere were hampered by debris strewn across roads. Ward said many apartment complexes in Bowling Green suffered major structural damage, and several factories collapsed during the storm.
“Right now, we’re focusing on the citizens, trying to reach everyone who needs us,” Ward said.
Jablon reports from Los Angeles; Salter reports from O’Fallon, Missouri. Associated Press journalists Bruce Schreiner of Frankfort, Kentucky, John Raby of Charleston, West Virginia, and Jeff McMurray of Chicago contributed to this report.
https://kdvr.com/news/more-than-100-feared-dead-as-tornadoes-storms-strike-us-states/ More than 100 people are afraid to die because of tornadoes and storms that hit US states