Deaths confirmed after tornado hits Amazon warehouse in Illinois

Police in Edwardsville, Ill. Said there were at least two “confirmed deaths” at an Amazon warehouse after a direct hit from a tornado ca...


Police in Edwardsville, Ill. Said there were at least two “confirmed deaths” at an Amazon warehouse after a direct hit from a tornado caused a collapse of a much of the building Friday night, leaving “catastrophic damage to a significant portion” of the building.

Three people were rescued from the building and one was taken to hospital, said Mark Mayfield, captain of the Edwardsville fire department. He did not know the person’s status on Saturday morning, but said he believed she was in “stable condition”.

Thirty workers left the building unharmed, police said. A bus carried several workers to join families at nearby Pontoon Beach, said Michael Fillback, the Edwardsville police chief.

Captain Mayfield said he did not know how many workers were inside the building when the tornado struck around 8:30 p.m., but Chief Fillback told St. Louis KDSK-TV station Saturday that the number was not “in the hundreds”. Chief Fillback estimated at a press conference on Saturday morning that about 50 people were in the building.

Emergency responders received the initial call at 8:38 p.m. and arrived several minutes later, Captain Mayfield said, with about 100 responders on the scene shortly after the building collapsed. More than a dozen police, fire and emergency medical services across the region responded.

Police blocked the entrance to the campus on Saturday morning, which is about 20 minutes northeast of St. Louis.

The two-year-old building sits in a distribution center on the west side of town with around 20 warehouses ranging from around 100,000 to 1.4 million square feet, he said. The tornado caused a wall the size of a football field to collapse at the warehouse, as well as the roof above, according to the Associated Press.

“About half of it is missing, let’s go,” Captain Mayfield said of the building, which is about 400,000 square feet. The other half of the building remained standing on Saturday morning, he said, adding that workers were able to safely evacuate from that area.

“There is a lot of concrete debris; it’s mostly a concrete and steel structure, ”Chief Fillback said on Saturday morning, adding,“ It’s windy outside so things are unstable.

On Saturday morning, a constant stream of construction vehicles entered the scene. Workers appeared to be using a crane to clear the wreckage from the site. The winds continued to blow above 20 mph on Saturday morning, causing cars to tremble.

Captain Mayfield said the remaining part of the building would likely need to be demolished. “I don’t see anyway that they can get it back,” he said.

Heavy machinery was brought in to move the collapsed walls to make sure no one else was missing, and rescue teams were checking inside vehicles that had been crushed by the collapsed walls. .

“We are deeply saddened by the news that members of our Amazon family have died as a result of the storm in Edwardsville, Ill.,” Said Kelly Nantel, Amazon spokesperson on Saturday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones and all those affected by the tornado.”

Amazon opened two warehouses in Edwardsville, about 25 miles east of St. Louis, in 2016, employing about 2,200 people, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in 2017.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Deaths confirmed after tornado hits Amazon warehouse in Illinois
Deaths confirmed after tornado hits Amazon warehouse in Illinois
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