Kentucky factory workers threatened with being fired if they left work to escape deadly tornado: report

Workers at a candle factory in Kentucky tell NBC News that their supervisors threatened to fire them if they left work as a deadly tornado barreled toward them.

According to NBC News' sources, workers at the Mayfield Consumer Products factory in Mayfield, Kentucky were forbidden from leaving their jobs even as local tornado warning sirens started blaring throughout the area.

"For hours, as word of the coming storm spread, as many as 15 workers beseeched managers to let them take shelter at their own homes, only to have their requests rebuffed," reports NBC News. "Fearing for their safety, some left during their shifts regardless of the repercussions."

The tornado then proceeded to directly strike the factory, leveling it to rubble and killing eight people who were still inside.

READ MORE: Dozens feared dead as tornadoes tear through Kentucky, southeastern US

21-year-old McKayla Emery, who is now in the hospital after suffering injuries from being inside the factory when the tornado struck, told NBC she directly heard supervisors talking about firing people who went home to escape the tornado.

“If you leave, you’re more than likely to be fired,” Emery recalled supervisors telling workers who asked to leave. “I heard that with my own ears.”

As of this writing, an estimated 74 people in Kentucky have died as a result of the tornado.