Asked why the factory had not shut down on Friday night, Mr. Propes said that the company had made the best decisions under the circumstances, insisting that having employees hunker down inside the factory was safer than sending them home on the roads.

“Looking through the lens of hindsight, I think, is not the right lens,” he said. “The lens to look through is to say with the same facts, would you make the same decisions? And I think that answer is yes because our team did exactly what they were supposed to do.”

Isaiah Holt, 32, was on his shift in the wax and fragrance department when he heard the tornado sirens. On Sunday, he was in a hospital bed in Nashville, aching from a bruised lung and broken ribs and worrying about his brother, who also worked at the factory and who was showered with bricks when the building collapsed. Mr. Holt had liked his job, he said. But he questioned whether he the factory should have stayed open after tornado warnings were issued. “They should have just canceled,” he said.

In Mayfield, Angel Romero, 38, watched his wife cook chicken soup and heat up tortillas on a stove she had made out of throwaway bricks. Mr. Romero, a father of two children, 8 and 5, looked around his devastated block, now barely recognizable.

“When it came, it devoured everything in its path,” he said. He looked toward his children. “They are still trying to process what happened.”

The Latino population in Mayfield has grown quickly over the past decade, with immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala and newcomers from Puerto Rico arriving to work in chicken factories and at las Velas — the Candles — the nickname for the factory where many possibly died.

“The Latino community was hit hard by this tragedy,” said Ana Massò, the wife of the pastor of the Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana, where she was collecting donated items to help the people in the community who had been left homeless, lost loved ones or both.

“Many don’t know where to go or who to ask for help,” she said. “I really don’t know where do we go from here.”

Eric Berger contributed reporting from Edwardsville, Ill.

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