EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – A lawyer for one of the victim’s families claims engineers found structural deficiencies in the Amazon facility in Edwardsville, Illinois which partially collapsed in a tornado.
An EF3 tornado hit the Amazon distribution center located just off I-255 in December 2021. Now attorneys representing one of the victim’s families have revealed new concerning details about the building that they’ve obtained through a freedom of information request.
Austin McEwen was one of the workers killed inside the Amazon facility when part of the massive building collapsed during the tornado. The 26-year-old was an independent contractor working as an Amazon delivery driver. His family filed a wrongful death suit against Amazon in January.
An attorney with the Chicago-based Clifford Law Offices, which represents the McEwen family, said government engineers found supporting columns improperly and inadequately holding up the 115,000 square foot structure. The law firm says a government engineer found a considerable number of columns were not standing and appeared to have been lifted out of the floor after the storm. Attorneys at the firm also quote the engineer as saying that he became concerned that he could not find any weld or bolted connection at the base of any column but only what appeared to be some sort of caulk around the column at the finished floor line. The engineer said the international building code requires structural pieces to be secured against uplift from winds.
An Amazon spokesperson told the Belleville News-Democrat that it’s too soon to know if there were structural deficiencies with the building, and Amazon is doing its own investigation into the collapse.
The Clifford Law Offices are holding a press conference at 9 a.m. Tuesday regarding this new information.