2 confirmed dead at Amazon facility after collapse

According to Illinois police, a search and rescue is ongoing
Originally Published: 11 DEC 21 10:33 ET

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EDWARDSVILLE, Illinois (KMOV) — Two people died after part of the Amazon warehouse collapsed in Edwardsville when storms rolled through Friday night, police said.

About 30 Amazon workers were bussed to the Pontoon Beach Police Department after being rescued from the collapsed building.

News 4’s Jenna Rae was on the scene shortly before 9:30 p.m. Friday and saw dozens of first responders arriving to the area. The Madison County Mass Casualty Team has been seen on site.

About three hours after the collapse at 3077 Gateway Commerce Center Drive South was first reported, two Madison County Transit buses were seen taking Amazon workers off of the property, according to Rae. She also reported that a life flight helicopter was landing in the area.

Aisha White was on the phone with a family member who was inside the building at the time of the collapse.

“He was on the phone with me while it was happening,” she recalled. “The tornado was hitting the back of the building, the trucks were coming in, I told him to jump out the truck and duck. We watched the building go up, stuff hitting the cars, I told him I was on my way.”

Since arriving at the site, White said she has not been able to find her family member. She said from what she has heard the people inside of the warehouse are remaining calm and working to figure out how to get out of the warehouse.

An employee who was heading to the building in the rain said he first thought the power was out when he arrived for his shift. “I didn’t realize the back of the building was gone,” he recalled.

He described the scene after the incident and detailed how there were smashed cars and downed power lines.

Edwardsville Police Chief Michael Fillback told News 4 it is not known how many people were inside the building at the time of the collapse. He also said it’s not known exactly how many people are still inside. There is a search and rescue operation underway at the facility. Early Saturday morning, Edwardsville police confirmed two people inside the facility died.

Friday night, those rescued from the building were being transported to the Pontoon Beach Police Department. Once there, Chief Fillback said officers are asking for their identity and for information on who else was inside the building at the time.

More than a dozen agencies are on the scene.

About an hour after News 4 arrived on the scene of the collapse, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker tweeted that he was aware of the situation unfolding in Edwardsville. He wrote, “My prayers are with the people of Edwardsville tonight, and I’ve reached out to the mayor to provide any needed state resources.” The governor later activated the State Emergency Operations Center following the night of severe weather.

News 4 reached out to Amazon regarding the situation. Amazon Spokesperson Richard Rocha responded, “The safety and well-being of our employees and partners is our top priority right now. We’re assessing the situation and will share additional information when it’s available.”

The company sent another statement early Saturday morning after fatalities were confirmed:

“Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathies are with the victims, their loved ones, and everyone impacted. This is a devastating tragedy for our Amazon family and our focus is on supporting our employees and partners.”

The Edwardsville Police Department has confirmed there is a widespread power outage with downed lines and that Ameren is working to restore power.

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