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Gov. Beshear: At least 74 people killed in Kentucky tornadoes, number expected to go up

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Posted at 12:30 PM, Dec 13, 2021

(LEX 18) — The past few days in Kentucky have been filled with death, damage, and destruction. All of it was caused by the tornadoes that left communities in mounds of debris.

"I know like the folks in Western Kentucky, I'm not doing so well today," said Governor Andy Beshear during a Monday update. "And I'm not sure how many of us are."

The Governor said the situation is difficult to understand.

"It’s hard to understand how something like this - or why something like this - happens," said Beshear. "It is just awful. And the people who lost everything but are still here with us, it’s hard to think of them as lucky, but...this is really hard. But we’re going to make it."

As of Monday afternoon, Kentucky confirmed 74 deaths from the storms. The governor said at least 100 Kentuckians are still missing and unaccounted for. Some of the victims, we're slowly learning more about. And one thing is clear, the tornadoes killed so many people - from the very young to the elderly.

"Of the ones that we know," said Governor Andy Beshear as he fought back tears. "The age range is five months to 86 years. Six are younger than 18."

The governor says there may be more bad news to come, but he's hoping for any positive news too. And that positive news may come from the candle factory in Mayfield.

Beshear says Mayfield Consumer Products, the company that owns the candle plant, is reporting only eight deaths. 110 people were working in the factory when it was directly hit and destroyed by a tornado. However, the state is still working on verifying that information.

Kentucky was initially expecting far more deaths from the building alone. So, if the company is correct, this would be positive for the state.

"The Christmas miracle we hoped for, but we need to make sure it's accurate," said Beshear.

As far as all the survivors go, Beshear says between FEMA and the state, help is on the way.

"To all of you, we love you," said Beshear. "We're going to be with you today, tomorrow, and in the years to come."