Amazon to rebuild Illinois warehouse after deadly tornado
OSHA is investigating whether the Amazon facility was compliant with state regulations
Amazon said it will rebuild its Edwardsville, Illinois warehouse, which collapsed after a deadly EF-3 tornado ripped through the area over the weekend.
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According to the Edwardsville Police Department, six employees working at the 1.1 million square foot ecommerce facility were killed Friday, while another individual remains hospitalized with serious injuries. The seven individuals took shelter on the south side of the building during the storm.
Officials emphasized that all other individuals at the property during the incident have been accounted for and that crews are continuing to clear debris from the site. Approximately 45 personnel members made it out of the building safely.
The six deceased individuals have been identified as 28-year-old Deandre S. Morrow and 34-year-old Etheria S. Hebb of St. Louis, Missouri; 62-year-old Kevin D. Dickey of Carlyle, Illinois; 29-year-old Clayton Lynn Cope of Alton, Illinois; 46-year-old Larry E. Virden of Collinsville, Illinois; and 26-year-old Austin J. McEwen of Edwardsville, Illinois.
"We're reaching out to families and figuring out what we can do for them," Amazon senior vice president of global delivery services John Felton said during a press conference on Monday. "All of our employees are getting paid time off, but we're also adding rental cars, Lyft gift certificates and we're committed to this community. We’re gonna rebuild this site."
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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has declared a disaster proclamation for counties across central and southern Illinois that were impacted by the storm. He added that an investigation to determine whether the Amazon facility had structural issues prior to the collapse is ongoing.
In addition, a Labor Department spokesperson confirmed to FOX Business that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into the incident.
"OSHA has had compliance officers at the complex since Saturday, December 11 to provide assistance," the spokesperson said. "OSHA has six months to complete its investigation, issue citations and propose monetary penalties if violations of workplace safety and or health regulations are found."
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Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said at the press conference that the building was "constructed consistent with code" and that the company would go back to ensure its policies and practices are consistent with any new information learned from the investigations into the catastrophic event.
Nantel told Fox News on Sunday that it does not believe that the incident will significantly impact the company's shipping operations for the holidays. Amazon is working with local and state officials to aid in recovery efforts and announced it would donate $1 million to the Edwardsville Community Foundation.
Over $7,000 has also been raised for the Amazon Worker Tornado Fund, which is giving 100% of its proceeds to Amazon employees and their families who have been impacted by the Edwardsville tornado.
Fox News Austin Westfall contributed to this report