Kentucky governor warns of mass casualties at damaged candle factory, with fatalities also reported in several other states.
Dozens of people are feared dead in Kentucky, in the southeastern United States, after multiple tornadoes ripped through the state, with several fatalities also reported in neighboring states battered by storms.
In the southwestern Kentucky community of Mayfield, a candle factory with workers inside was “essentially levelled”, according to police. Governor Andy Beshear described the situation at the site as “tragic”.
“There were about 110 people in it at the time that the tornado hit it,” he told a news conference early on Saturday morning.
“We believe we’ll lose at least dozens of those individuals. It’s very hard, really tough, and we’re praying for each and every one of those families.”
Beshear, who declared a state of emergency, said the strongest tornado tore 200 miles (322km) through the state, calling it the “most severe” in “Kentucky’s history”.
Elsewhere, police in Edwardsville, Illinois, confirmed fatalities at an Amazon facility where the roof was ripped off the building and a wall about the length of a football field collapsed, the Associated Press news agency reported. At least 100 emergency vehicles had descended upon the warehouse some 40km (25 miles) east of St Louis.
It was not immediately clear how many people were hurt, but one person was flown by helicopter to a hospital.
Early on Saturday, rescue crews were still sorting through the rubble as branes and backhoes were brought in to help move debris. Police said the process would last for several hours.
Meanwhile Dean Flener, spokesman for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, said three storm-related deaths had been confirmed in the state’s northwest. Two of the fatalities occurred in Lake county, and the third was in Obion county.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES