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Kentucky candle factory search and rescue operations underway

An aerial view of debris and structural damage is seen at the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory as search and rescue operations are underway after a tornado hit Mayfield, Kentucky, on December 12, 2021. | Source: Anadolu Agency / Getty

Throughout the chaos of the deadly tornado that devastated a wide swath of Kentucky and other states over the weekend, a Black woman has emerged as one of the heroes from a candle factory that was hit hard by the extreme weather in the western part of the state.

Kyanna Parsons-Perez made the media rounds describing her experience in harrowing terms while trying to calm co-workers during the storm late Friday night and into Saturday morning in the town of Mayfield, where they were all working for Mayfield Consumer Products when the tornado struck.

But it was perhaps her own social media documentation of what happened inside the candle factory during the tornado that was most compelling as she went live via her Facebook account and streamed a pair of separate videos to her followers.

While the first video mostly showed a pitch-black screen because the electricity had been knocked out, it’s the audio that can’t be ignored as cries for help and wails of agony can be heard why Parsons-Perez urges her co-workers to remain calm in the face of a tornado that she said ultimately brought the factory’s roof down on them.

“We’re gonna be OK,” Parsons-Perez can be heard telling someone at one point in the video that runs for more than 10 exasperating minutes. “We’re gonna be fine.”

Later in the video, in an apparent effort to keep her co-workers’ minds off of the storm, Parsons-Perez told them her birthday was on Saturday and implored them to sing “Happy Birthday” to her. They obliged in a heartfelt moment despite the persistent sound of agonizing wailing in the background.

Parsons-Perez’s second video is a brief selfie that shows her drenched as rain pours down as she emotionally tells her followers that she had been freed from inside the factory.

“We were just trying to stay calm until they come and got us,” Parsons-Perez recounted to MSNBC on Saturday.

In all, at least 90 people were killed from multiple tornadoes that spanned across at least six states, including Kentucky. However, Parsons-Perez’s positive energy in the candle factory may have paid off as her company announced that most of its employees who were working Friday night have been accounted for, the New York Times reported.

While Friday night’s tornadoes were among the deadliest that the U.S. has ever experienced, its death toll paled in comparison to the so-called The Tri-State Tornado of 1925 that killed at least 695 people and injured more than 2,000 others in a storm that hit Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.


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Videos Show Black Woman Playing Heroic Role As Deadly Kentucky Tornado Destroys Candle Factory  was originally published on