EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Authorities believe all employees of an Amazon distribution warehouse have been accounted for after an EF-3 tornado significantly damaged the facility killing six people and leaving a trail of destruction behind.
The tornado struck the facility outside of St. Louis, Missouri, after 8:30 p.m. CDT on Friday, causing support structures of the warehouse to collapse inward.
Authorities identified the victims as:
Deandre S. Morrow, 28
Kevin D. Dickey, 62
Clayton Lynn Cope, 29
Etheriu S. Hebb, 34
Larry E. Virden, 46
Austin J. McEwen, 26
In the hours after the tornado, officials were concerned about additional victims hidden in the rubble.
"For numerous reasons, the warehouse does not have a specific count of how many employees were in the building at the time the storm hit, so we are unable to determine how many may be missing still," Edwardsville Fire Chief James Whiteford said on Saturday.
An Amazon spokesperson said workers in the facility received the tornado warning and team members worked to get everyone to the designated shelter area.
The company released a statement that read:
"We’re deeply saddened by the news that members of our Amazon family passed away as a result of the storm in Edwardsville, IL. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, and everyone impacted by the storm. We also want to thank all the first responders for their ongoing efforts on scene. We’re continuing to provide support to our employees and partners in the area."
Whiteford said a shift change was underway when the tornado hit, complicating efforts to determine how many employees were at the warehouse during the weather event.
Nearly 200 employed at Edwardsville, Illinois Amazon facility
Amazon opened the facility in Edwardsville, Illinois back in 2020.
The world’s largest online retailer said the facility employs around 190 workers across multiple shifts.
The fulfillment center is approximately 1.1 million square feet and prepares orders for deliveries to customers.
Amazon employs around 1.3 million workers and says it operates more than 175 fulfillment centers worldwide.