New information on Amazon facility where six people died after an EF3 tornado hit the building in the lower state

CHICAGO (SCS) — There is new information about the status of Amazon’s warehouse where six people were killed in a tornado last December.

It happened in downstate Edwardsville. The lawyer representing the family of one of the victims spoke a few hours ago. CBS 2’s Mugo Odigwe has the story.

The main focus right now is that warehouse where those six workers died. The law firm representing one of the victims said the warehouse wasn’t even built to code.

They said new information obtained through a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request showed that the support columns supporting the 1.1 million square foot Amazon delivery depot were not properly anchored and the bolts were not in place.

β€œIt is heartbreaking to learn that these events have happened and you are the family that must lose someone,” said Jack Casciato, partner at Clifford Law Offices, representing the family of 26-year-old Austin McEwen.

He is one of six workers who were killed when an EF3 tornado hit Amazon’s warehouse in Edwardsville on December 10. According to the law firm, the facility had no basement shelter or security plan. The facility also does not have an adequate emergency plan required by OSHA.

McEwen tried to ride out the storm in a bathroom. He and five others did not survive.

“When you couple that with the fact that there are actual support columns holding the trusses and roof together and it turns out to be unwelded, unbolted and unanchored, that in itself certainly goes contribute to the collapse of this type of structure. Which should have been able to withstand this type of mid-level tornado,” Casciato said.

The company said many employees and other family members have reached out and there will likely be more wrongful death cases filed.

CBS 2 received a statement from Kelly Nantel, spokesperson for Amazon:

Our goal remains to support our team and all those affected by this tragic natural disaster. Investigators are continuing to conduct a full forensic examination of the building and debris – so it is premature and misleading to suggest there were structural issues.

The original developer completed construction of this building in 2018 in compliance with all applicable building codes, as documented by the city and the original owner. The building was re-inspected and passed city inspections in 2020 when Amazon leased the building.


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