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Indiana team continues search for people at Kentucky candle factory hit by tornado

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana Task Force 1 on Sunday said it’s continuing search-and-rescue efforts at a Mayfield, Kentucky, candle factory hit by a tornado Friday night.

Tom Neal, chief of the search-and-rescue group from Indiana, shared the latest information in an email relayed late Sunday afternoon by Rita L. Reith, a spokeswoman for Indianapolis Fire Department. Neal said the team began work about 8 a.m. Sunday at the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory in Mayfield, and were scheduled to be replaced about 8 p.m. Sunday by fire crews from Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky.

“Unaccounted for individuals still remain, regarding the Candle Factory search,” the message from Neal said.

A spokesman for the candle factory said Sunday night that eight factory workers were dead and eight more were missing.

The governor of Kentucky said in a news conference Sunday afternoon that he expected the state’s death toll to exceed 100, but that he had no compiled figures to share.

Gov. Andy Beshear also said layers of steel and cars 15 feet deep were found on top of what used to be the factory roof.

Indiana Task Force 1 spend Sunday removing layers of the collapsed building and will use a crane on Monday to remove a large portion of the candle factory’s collapsed roof, Neal said.

At least 45 Task Force 1 members had departed Indianapolis just after 4 p.m. Saturday.

Neal said before departing Indianapolis that the team would use saws, listening devices and fiber-optic camera to try and find people trapped in the heavy concrete structure.

Task Force 1 was assembled in 1992 and consists of 34 agencies around Indiana. This year alone, the team has assisted with the aftermath of a collapsed condominium in South Florida and the aftermath Hurricane Ida in Louisiana.

The team is comprised of 15 members from the Indianapolis Fire Department and four members from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, as well as four coach drivers, two mechanics and eight civilians. The remaining members represent these fire departments: Avon, Bargersville, Carmel, Columbus, Crown Point, Decatur Township, Fishers, Greenwood, Lafayette, Lebanon, Noblesville, Plainfield, Speedway, Vincennes, Wayne Township and Zionsville.

The team also has three search dogs — Jake, Eddie and Virgil — that specialize in detecting human remains.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.