State Watch

Six workers killed after Amazon warehouse roof collapse near St. Louis during storms

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
First responders work outside an Amazon fulfillment center after it was heavily damaged when a strong thunderstorm moved through the area Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Edwardsville, Ill.
At least six people have died at an Amazon warehouse near St. Louis after the roof of the building partially collapsed under the strain of severe winds and storms.
 
At a news conference Saturday evening, Edwardsville Fire Chief James Whiteford confirmed the deaths and said that another person had been injured and 45 people had been rescued safely.
 
The injured individual was airlifted to a hospital for treatment, he said.

“At this point, we have transitioned to search and recovery,” Whiteford said. “We don’t expect that anyone could be surviving at this point.”

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy tweeted on Saturday that Amazon was “heartbroken” by the tragedy.
 
“We’ve been closely monitoring the terrible situation in Edwardsville, and are heartbroken over the loss of our team members. Our thoughts are with their families at this difficult time,” Jassy said.

Local authorities said that strong storms and tornadoes were to blame for the incident, which Illinois’s Collinsville Emergency Management Agency called a “mass casualty incident,” Reuters reported.

“Structure collapse with multiple subjects trapped at Amazon Warehouse on Gateway Commerce Dr,” Collinsville Emergency Management Agency wrote of the building collapse on Facebook.

One woman told Reuters that she believed her husband may have been inside the building at the time of the collapse.

“I talked to him about eight o’clock tonight, a little before I texted him, and he was returning to the warehouse to drop his van off,” Sarah Bierman told a reporter, according to Reuters.

“And I haven’t heard from him since,” she continued. “I just heard through the news and we live in Edwardsville; we lost power. So I decided to come down here to see what was going on, and I had no idea the building looked that bad. And I’m just … I’m worried sick,” she said.

An Amazon spokesperson told the news outlet that the company is currently assessing the situation and damage done to the building.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) shared his condolences on Twitter late Friday night, adding that he was working with local officials to monitor the situation.

“My prayers are with the people of Edwardsville tonight, and I’ve reached out to the mayor to provide any needed state resources,” he tweeted.

More than 70 are presumed dead after tornadoes and severe storms swept across five states Friday night into Saturday morning, causing damage to nursing homes, factories and other buildings.

— Updated at 7:37 p.m.

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