Mayfield, KY – Graves County Jail and Restricted Custody Center (GCJRCC) Corrections Deputy Robert Daniel died in the line of duty Friday when a tornado destroyed a candle factory where he was supervising seven work release inmates.
An estimated 110 people were working at Mayfield Consumer Products (MCP) candle factory located at 112 Industrial Drive when the massive tornado hit on Dec. 10, the Lexington Herald Leader reported.
Among them were Corrections Deputy Daniel and seven GCJRCC inmates who were participating in a work release program, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
The tornado destroyed a large portion of the city of Mayfield, as well as the factory.
According to a Facebook post made by GCJRCC Jailer George Workman, Corrections Deputy Daniel was able to move the seven inmates to a safer location and they all survived the disaster.
“He was just unable to get there himself in time,” Jailer Workman wrote. “Like my savior, he too gave his life for others.”
Eight people working inside the factory were confirmed dead as of Sunday, and eight more remained missing, the Lexington Herald Leader reported.
All seven of the inmates were rescued from the rubble, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
One of the inmates was treated at Jackson Purchase Medical Center and escaped after being released, WDRB reported.
He later turned himself in 24 miles away from Mayfield at the Calloway County Jail in Murray.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said Sunday afternoon that first responders have attributed approximately 50 deaths to the storm statewide so far, WDRB reported.
The GCJRCC confirmed Corrections Deputy Daniel’s death in a Facebook post Sunday morning.
“It is with deep regret and sorrow that we report the passing of one of our deputies and friends, we will miss Robert Daniel forever until we meet again,” the facility’s post read. “He did his job honorably and professionally until the very end. We love you and pray for your family.”
Corrections Deputy Daniel’s sister told WHAS that her brother was just assigned to the factory two weeks ago.
MCP CEO Troy Propes said in a press release that the company is “heartbroken” over the loss of life caused by the tornado.
“Our company is family-owned and our employees, some who have worked with us for many years, are cherished,” Propes wrote. “We’re immediately establishing an emergency fund to assist our employees and their families.”
“We’re grateful to the first responders who heroically assisted our employees following the storm. And, we’re thankful for those who are generously offering to assist us. Your prayers are needed and appreciated,” he added.
GCJRCC officials presented Corrections Deputy Daniel’s family with his badge during a memorial gathering at the funeral home Sunday, WHAS reported.
Corrections Deputy Daniel leaves behind his son, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
The candle factory in Mayfield pic.twitter.com/zhQUKE430P
— 🇺🇸Brandon2022🇺🇸 (@WeThePeopleElec) December 12, 2021
— Ryan C. Hermens (@ryanhermens) December 12, 2021
Graves County Jail officers are honoring Officer Robert Daniel. He was killed in the line of duty Friday night- monitoring inmates who were on work release at the candle factory. Inmates described Daniel as a hero, who risked his own life to move them to safety. pic.twitter.com/SRzw204cnl
— Shay McAlister (@ShayMcAlisterTV) December 12, 2021
🔹 Blessed Are The Peacemakers 🔹
Corrections Officer Robert Daniel
Graves County Jail, Kentucky
— National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (@GLFOP) December 13, 2021
— Michael Gordon (@WX_ManMike) December 11, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Graves County Jail and Restricted Custody Center Corrections Deputy Robert Daniel, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.