Injured Kentucky candle factory worker dies, marking ninth death at facility after tornado

Published 9:59 pm Monday, December 20, 2021

A worker injured in the destruction of a Kentucky candle factory hit by a tornado has died, raising the total killed in the facility to nine.

The worker was hospitalized and recently succumbed to their injuries, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.

Meanwhile, Beshear said a recent toy drive had brought in truckloads of donations from all over the country for western Kentucky kids who lost their homes and possessions in the storms just two weeks before Christmas.

“This world has shown us that they love us,” Beshear said during a Monday news briefing.

The toys for storm-affected families will be distributed at five sites, or Christmas storefronts, that will offer parents a chance to shop for toys for their children, Beshear said. The storefronts will be open Tuesday and Thursday.

“It’s amazing because these kiddos, they’ve seen things that we can’t imagine,” Beshear said. “And it’s heartbreaking. But, thanks to the generosity of not just this state but the entire country, they will now have a real Christmas, full of so many gifts.”

The toy drive, which is now closed for donations, was organized by Kentucky first lady Britainy Beshear.

The governor revised the total fatalities from the Dec. 10 storms down to 76 from an estimate of 78. Beshear said three of the victims were double-counted because they were listed in more than one county. The candle factory victim, from Calloway County, made the total 76, he said.

All together, the weekend storms killed about 90 people in five states. The National Weather Service recorded at least 41 tornadoes, including 16 in Tennessee and eight in Kentucky.

More than 900 storm victims were being housed at state park resorts and hotels, Beshear said Monday.