EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — An emergency declaration is in effect for much of Illinois following Friday’s tornados, which will give immediate federal funds to victims. In the meantime, Amazon and other agencies are trying to clean up the mounds of debris in Edwardsville.
Piles of debris still sit on roadways and fields, just miles from the Amazon facility off of I-270. Just down the road, Suzie Makler found walls and insulation from Amazon in her own backyard. She said her home was in the tornado’s path Friday.
“Everybody says that it sounds like a train, but I didn’t hear a train,” said Makler. “I heard racing cars. I heard crinkling like somebody’s taking foil and just pulling it together and making a ball. I think that’s the trees breaking.”
Makler said she and her family are alright and her home is still intact. However, her property is a different story.
“Looking at all my stuff broken in there, I kind of get a little choked up. But you got a remember, it can be replaced. It can be bought again, and we’re both here, and my grandson is here, and I am thankful and blessed,” Suzie said with tears in her eyes.
The Edwardsville Police Department sent a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying the city is continuing to clean up debris. The department said that the city is “working with Amazon to transition the property back to their control.”
“At this time, everyone reported to have been at the property when this event occurred has been accounted for, and we have no other reports of missing individuals,” the department said in a statement.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin spoke about the devastation on Capitol Hill.
“It’s a terrible reminder in America they were all one people. Massive concrete walls, 11 inches thick and 40 feet high, caved in, trapping employees who are working to fill Christmas and holiday orders,” Durbin said.
As the Edwardsville community works to pick up the pieces, Makler said she’s grateful for the overwhelming support.
“That’s when I get emotional,” Makler said. “When I see how many friends that come here that I haven’t seen for 10 years, that they’re struggling themselves and worrying about me. That got me a lot.”
There will be a candlelight vigil at the warehouse tomorrow at 5 p.m. to honor the six workers who lost their lives.