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One survivor of the Kentucky candle factory said a supervisor told him he would be fired if he left before the storm. A company spokesperson denied this claim


“I said, ‘Gosh, will you refuse to let us leave, even if the weather is this bad and the tornado isn’t here yet?” He was like, “If you want to decide to leave, if you want to leave, you can leave, but you will be terminated. You will be fired,” Elijah Johnson, the worker, said in a third interview.

Asked about the allegation, a spokesman for the company that owns the plant said the company spoke to supervisors who worked that night, who denied any employees were announced that they would be fired if they left. Bob Ferguson, a spokesman, noted that some employees left that night and employees were generally free to go in and out without retaliation.

Overall, at least 88 people were killed in the storms, including at least 74 in Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear said. The governor said more than 100 people remained unverified as of Tuesday morning.

McKayla Emery, another worker at the plant that night, corroborated Johnson’s account, telling CNN she heard people asking a supervisor if they could leave, and the supervisor told them word for word: ‘If you sign out, you’re more likely to get fired.'”

In a town in Kentucky, many tornado survivors were left with only their clothes on their backs

Another worker who survived the storm at the factory told CNN on Tuesday that he didn’t hear from any supervisors threatening to fire workers who had left.

Jim Douglas said in a hospital bed interview: “You can basically log out so they know you’re gone and leave at any time.

On the night the tornado hit, Douglas said an interior wall fell on top of him, hitting him in the head and throwing him to the ground. He said he lay in agony, crushed beneath what he believes to be about 15 feet of debris before rescuers finally approached him. He is currently recovering from nerve damage and is slowly regaining use of his arms and legs.

& # 39;  She was trapped underneath a wall.  & # 39;  Pastor describes holding hands of woman trapped at collapsed candle factory

Douglas, who has worked at the factory for two-and-a-half years, said he was previously able to go to work early without being affected. He said he was thinking of leaving as the storm approached but decided to drive it out of the factory after talking to his family.

State workplace safety inspectors are investigating the deaths of eight workers at the candle factory, according to Holly Neal, chief information officer for the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. Governor Beshear said on Tuesday such investigations are routine when deaths occur in the workplace.

Asked about reports of employees being told they would be laid off if they left the factory before the storm made landfall, Beshear said, “I haven’t seen any direct accounts from the factory itself. candle making, which is something that people will obviously consider.

“I hope that they did everything right. If not, then that information will come out,” he added.

CNN’s Brynn Gingras and Sarah Boxer contributed to this report.

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