Ashley Furniture closes Ripley, MS plant after hail, heavy rain damages roof

RIPLEY, Miss. — Ashley Furniture Industries confirmed hail and heavy rain damaged parts of the roof at its Ripley, Mississippi plant Monday morning.

Cell phone video shows gallons of water rushing into the plant through the roof as hail floated across the floor.

A company spokesman said the plant closed as a safety precaution and that employees were sent home.

"When I turned the corner and saw what had happened, all I could do was say, ‘Oh my God,'" said plant employee Tabitha Pearson.  "It was unreal. I’ve never seen anything like that before. I’ve never witnessed hail like that before in my life. It was a sight.”

Another plant employee sent WREG a photo showing hail the size of marbles piled up in the Ashley Furniture parking lot.

There were several Servpro crews at the plant assisting with cleanup efforts Monday afternoon, but Ashley said it  still hasn't determined the full extent of the damage.

The company is planning to have the plant back open by 7 a.m. Tuesday, but that's only an estimate.

Pearson said she was told to call before heading to work Tuesday.

The Ripley plant employs about 900 people, according to the company.