EDWARDSVILLE Ill. – Six workers have been confirmed dead at an Amazon facility hit by a tornado Friday night. The damage was significant but the real loss is the loss of life. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker says that “This is a tragic day in Illinois history.”
At about 8:30 Friday evening a tornado tore through the Amazon facility on Gateway Commerce Center Drive South. Six people died and 45 made it out safely. One person remains hospitalized. Rescue operations have ended and have shifted to recovery.
“We’re continuing to search the site for evidence of life. And will continue recovery operations until all personnel are accounted for. At this time, estimates are that the recovery portion will take about three days,” said Edwardsville Fire Chiefchief James Whiteford.
“I can say the most important thing you can do is pray for the victims and their families,” said Edwardsville Mayor Art Risavy.
Edwardsville police want families to know that a reunification center remains open at the nearby Pontoon Beach Police Department.
“We’re deeply saddened by the news that members of our Amazon family passed away as a result of the storm in Edwardsville,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”
“I also spoke with Amazon earlier today and implored them to provide every assistance to this community which they said they intended to do,” said Gov. Pritzker.
This has gone from a rescue operation to a recovery operation. Those first responder teams will return Sunday during daylight hours to continue their work and search for anyone who might be inside the Amazon facility. Donations can be made to the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army.