Eight confirmed dead, eight missing at Kentucky candle factory

Eight people were confirmed dead and eight were still missing on Sunday at the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, where 110 employees were working when it was destroyed by tornadoes, a company spokesperson said on Sunday.

"There were some early reports that as many as 70 could be dead in the factory. One is too many, but we thank God that the number is turning out to be far, far fewer," company spokesperson Bob Ferguson told Reuters.

Governor Andy Beshear had previously said at least 80 people in his state were confirmed dead after a string of powerful tornadoes ripped through the region on Friday night. Beshear said the toll was eventually going to exceed 100. It was unclear how many factory workers Beshear was counting in his estimate.

Crews on Sunday evening who were digging through the rubble were still treating it as a rescue effort and have not moved to a recovery effort, Ferguson said.

"We are still hopeful that of the eight who are still unaccounted for, we may be able to locate some of them," he said.

Mayfield Consumer Products describes itself as a local, family-owned maker of candles, wax and home fragrance goods.

Mayfield, a community of about 10,000 residents in Graves County, was transformed by the tornado into a landscape cluttered with damaged and demolished buildings, strewn debris, trees uprooted and stripped bare, twisted road signs and sagging utility lines.