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NBC: Employees of candle factory claim supervisors said they could be fired for leaving during storm

Mayfield Consumer Products CEO Troy Propes denied those claims, saying nobody was forced to work.
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 11:29 PM EST
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MAYFIELD, Ky. (WAVE) - Chilling photos and videos of a candle factory in Mayfield show the damage and devastation caused by the tornado over the weekend.

During the storm, eight people reportedly died at Mayfield Consumer Products.

Employees exclusively told NBC News they were not allowed to leave the facility.

“We should not have been working,” Lauren Barclay told NBC news from her hospital bed.

She said workers were on the line until the sirens went off, just minutes before the tornado ripped the building apart. She said employees weren’t allowed to leave. “My house was fine. If I had been at home, I wouldn’t be in this hospital right now. We didn’t even have a tree fall on our yard,” Barclay said.

Barclay is one of about five people who said employees were told they couldn’t leave, and they would possibly be fired for ending their shifts early. Some left the factory regardless of repercussions.

Mayfield Consumer Products CEO Troy Propes denied those claims, saying nobody was forced to work.

“If we believe that we can do anything differently, in hindsight of course I think all of us would do something differently,” he said. “It’s such a gamble to say ‘leave’ because the last thing you do is say get in your car. You know that’s what experts say.”

A spokesperson said managers and team leaders undergo a series of emergency drills that follow guidelines of FEMA and OSHA, and protocols were in place and followed.

The company said all people believed to be in the building at the time of the storm have been accounted for, including the eight people who died.

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