“I’m glad to be alive,” the 21-year-old African-American, who had only been working at the Mayfield Consumer Products Factory for ten days, told AFP.
The man had already worked on the same building in the small town, and now it was almost nothing after a hurricane of historic proportions passed. The building is now nothing more than a pile of rubble that rescuers carefully cleared in the hopes of finding survivors dwindled.
“We heard the alarm and ran to the safety zone, but when we got there, suddenly there was nothing that could be done,” Jimrion Hart said Friday night. The tornado hit the building and the roof collapsed, trapping workers.
“It was scary, I was trapped between walls, metal blocks and wood,” he explained. “Time passed and the building kept collapsing. At first I was able to move a bit, but then it didn’t work anymore, I started to compress.”
I tried to control my breathing, but for others it was impossible and they panicked. I couldn’t see anything. “Some of them fainted and others died,” said the survivor.
The young man managed to take his cell phone out of his pocket and call his pregnant girlfriend and mother. “It gave me hope and confidence to resist and survive and wait for rescue,” which happened seven hours later, around 3:40 a.m.
The first responders, who arrived an hour after the hurricane started, took a long time to clear the debris. “The slightest misstep would have crushed us,” Hart said.
In addition to injuries and pain in his legs, the man claims that he suffers from psychological injuries. One of his young colleagues died remembering his ordeal every time he remembered that day at the factory. “Images are still spinning in my head. It’s very difficult to control,” he said.
The young man also denounced the lack of security measures on the part of the factory management, which decided to continue the work day despite the warnings of the authorities.
The company can now be investigated by the courts. “If what should have been done is not done to prioritize employee safety, then that is what they deserve,” he stated.
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