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Crews search for the missing after devastating tornadoes

Kentucky

In this aerial photo, destruction from a recent tornado is seen in downtown Mayfield, Ky., Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

MAYFIELD, KY (AP) — Rescuers in an increasingly bleak search picked through the tornado-splintered ruins of homes and businesses Sunday, including a candle factory that was bustling with night-shift employees when it was flattened, as Kentucky’s governor warned the state’s death toll from the outbreak could top 100.

Factory workers sought refuge in what was supposed to be the safest part of the building, but it may not have mattered because the twister Friday night was so monstrous, Gov. Andy Beshear said. Authorities on Saturday reported rescuing 40 of the 110 people who were in the building at the time, but by Sunday, hope of finding anyone else alive had all but evaporated.

“It’ll be a miracle if we pull anybody else out of that. It’s now 15 feet deep of steel and cars on top of where the roof was,” the governor said on CNN. “Just tough.”

Jeremy Creason, Mayfield’s fire chief and emergency services director, said rescuers had to crawl over the dead to get to the living.

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