There are reports of workers trapped after a tornado, forming in severe weather that marauded through multiple states, struck an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois. You can see videos from the scene throughout this article.
Police Chief Mike Fillback said at a press conference on December 11, 2021, that there was “more than one fatality… at least two.” He said authorities believe there were about 50 people working at the warehouse at the time, but they are still working to verify that number for sure.
He said a good portion of the building’s southern portion collapsed. “It’s an utter disaster,” he said, adding that first responders are working to make sure everyone is accounted for. He said that there are also a number of power lines down in the area. Fillback said about 30 people were able to get out on their own, and one worker was rescued from the debris.
“You have concrete, and you have things hanging. It’s quite windy outside. Things are unstable,” the chief said, describing the rescue effort difficulties. The rescue efforts were continuing on December 11.
The reports are preliminary and still unfolding. Jenna Rae, a news reporter for KMOV-TV, tweeted, “About a third of the warehouse is torn down and damaged from either straight by line winds or tornado. People who have family members inside say people are trapped.”
Videos from the air showed enormous damage to part of the structure.
St. Clair County Emergency Management Services Director Herb Simmons told Fox2News that “50 to 100 employees are potentially trapped inside the building,” the Belleville News-Democrat reported.
It’s not yet clear whether there are any deaths or the number of people injured. Fox2Now reported that a “confirmed tornado” did touch down in Edwardsville on December 10, 2021.
Here’s what you need to know:
‘Multiple People’ Were Trapped, Reports Say
Video emerged that showed the tornado. Meterologist Stephen Morgan tweeted of the above video, “This was video taken near Hwy 157 & I-270, just east of St. Louis, as a tornado-warned storm moved through. This was near the Amazon facility that sustained damage and where some people were reported trapped inside.”
Photos emerged showing the partial collapse of the Amazon facility. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker wrote on Facebook, “My prayers are with the people of Edwardsville tonight, and I’ve reached out to the mayor to provide any needed state resources. Our Illinois State Police and Illinois Emergency Management Agency are both coordinating closely with local officials and I will continue to monitor the situation.”
According to KSDK-TV, multiple people were trapped.
Flight for Life helicopters were seen at the site of the partial Amazon collapse; there were reports on Facebook about calls for concrete cutters to respond to the facility.
The Amazon property is 717,000 square feet on a 53.39 acre lot, according to Commercial Cafe.
Authorities Were Flying Drones Over the Collapsed Warehouse
Journalist Charles Jaco tweeted, “Emergency responders are flying drones over the collapsed Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, IL. Last word, from 2 hour ago, was “50-100″ trapped. Ambulances, fire trucks, heavy equipment lined up. Walls, roof missing. Not sure if direct tornado hit or straight-line winds.”
NBC News reported that people were injured in the Amazon collapse and one person died in Arkansas from the severe weather on December 10, 2021. The death occurred at a nursing home in Monette, Arkansas, according to NBC.
Damage from the tornado was particularly bad in Mayfield, Kentucky. That’s a town of about 10,000 people where rescues were underway after the tornado hit the community head-on.
The National Weather Service tweeted, “A significant severe weather outbreak is possible tonight across the South-Central US. Nighttime tornadoes are particularly dangerous. Keep a NOAA Weather Radio where you sleep so you can be alerted and take action when severe weather threatens overnight.”
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