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'There's no basement in this building.' | Attorney looking to take legal action against Mayfield factory

In 2019, federal regulators found 12 violations and fined Mayfield Consumer Products more than $16K. Six of those violations were listed as “serious.”

MAYFIELD, Ky. — More than a hundred employees at a Mayfield, Ky. candle factory arrived at work late Friday night, not knowing that the next morning, the building they were in would be a pile of rubble. Eight people working at the factory were killed as a tornado tore through the town overnight.

“One life lost is too many,” said Mayfield Consumer Products CEO Troy Propes. Propes said all of the factory’s workers have now been accounted for and 102 employees survived the storm.

Attorney John Caudill is trying to figure out how this could have been avoided. After speaking with employees who survived the storm, Caudill said he was left with questions.

“Why were there over 100 workers in this particular building during this tornado?” he asked. Caudill said they had more then enough warning, as the tornado touched down miles from Mayfield Friday night.

RELATED: Mayfield factory employees describe last-minute life-saving decisions, chaotic moments leading up to tornado

An attorney representing the company said all proper safety protocols were followed that night. These protocols included sirens and employees huddling within a specific area of the plant when the tornado hit.

Looking at the history of Mayfield Consumer Products, this was not the first time that the safety of the company has been a point of concern.

During a 2019 investigation, federal regulators found 12 violations and fined the company $16,350. Six of those violations were listed as “serious” and included defects in electrical protective equipment, issues with handling equipment and problems with exit routes.

Caudill said the building also lacked something that could have been crucial during the devastating storms.

“There’s no basement in this building,” he said.

Caudill said he’s looking for answers about safety protocols for a tornado warning.

"The question is, how much notice did the people who were in charge of this company have, and what did they do about it?” he asked. Caudill said he plans to speak with as many employees as he can to possibly take legal action and prevent another tragedy like this from happening again.

Gov. Andy Beshear said the Kentucky Division of Occupational Safety and Health Compliance will be conducting a month-long review of the deaths at the facility, which is standard protocol for any situation involving workplace fatalities.

Contact reporter Paula Vasan at pvasan@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@PaulaVasan) and Facebook.

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