Black Woman Details Heroic Ways She Kept Coworkers Calm During Tornado

Photo: Getty Images

"I did not think I was going to make it," Kyanna Parsons-Perez told the Weekend Today on Saturday (December 11) following the deadly tornadoes that ripped through six states.

Parsons-Perez was among the 110 employees working at a Kentucky candle factory when one of the more than 50 twisters recorded over the weekend tore through the building.

"It was extremely scary," Parsons-Perez told the outlet. "Everything happened so fast."

Parsons-Perez was in the storm shelter located in the factory along with some of her coworkers when "the lights got to flickering, and then all of a sudden, we felt a gust of –– we could feel the wind. Then, my ears kind of started popping, you know, as if they would as if you're on a plane."

At one point, Parson-Perez said it was hard to keep your balance in the shelter, "and then boom, everything came down on us. All your heard was screams."

Parsons-Perez sprung into action, calling 911 for help and then went live on her Facebook account to try and get as much attention to the trapped workers inside.

"I went live because I was trying to stay calm, and keep everybody else calm and try to give us as much help as possible," Parsons-Perez explained. "But it was absolutely the most terrifying thing I've ever experienced in my life."

Parsons-Perez said she and her coworkers were trapped for two hours waiting on rescue crews to dig them out. While they waited, she said she tried to get her coworkers' minds off the storm and situation. So, she had them sing her "Happy Birthday" since her special day was the very next day. They obliged, and the heartfelt moment was caught on her livestream.

Parsons-Perez said something fell on top of her while waiting to be rescued, increasing her doubts that she wouldn't make it out alive.

"I did not think I was going to make it at all. I was so scared," she said.

Eventually, rescue crews –– which included incarcerated individuals from the Graves County Jail –– helped dig out the employees, including Parsons-Perez.

"I tell you, some of those prisoners were working their tails off to get us out," she said. "But we were able to get the debris under us to move around and we were able to get out."

According to officials, some 40 individuals were rescued from the factory, but efforts are still underway to account for the remaining workers on shift at the time of the storm. Local reports indicate the factory had been operating "24/7" to keep up with holiday demand.

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