EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Officials are confirming two fatalities at an Amazon delivery facility in Edwardsville following Friday night’s severe weather. Multiple people were trapped inside the facility after the storm damaged the building.
There is a search and rescue effort underway.
Officials are waiting to release the names of the victims but Clayton Cope’s mother is on the scene and said she learned her son didn’t survive. She said he was a maintenance worker at the facility.
The collapse happened around 8:33 p.m. at the warehouse near I-270 and Illinois Route 111, according to the Edwardsville Police Department.
FOX 2 spoke with the stepsons of an Amazon worker, who are concerned because they haven’t heard from him.
“Our mother is basically hysterical at this point, trying to find out what’s going on. She’s really worried. We’re worried too,” Connor Jones said. “At this point, I’m starting to get pretty scared that he got hurt or worse.”
Edwardsville Police Chief Mike Fillback said rescue efforts could last well into Saturday morning due to the size of the building. The entire southern portion of the warehouse or fulfillment center as Amazon calls it was destroyed by the storm.
Authorities are still trying to get a firm count of just how many people were inside of the warehouse when the storm hit. Fillback says there may have been around 50. Amazon officials are trying to help get an accurate number for authorities.
A total of 30 workers managed to escape the collapse on their own and were taken to a safe location with help from the Madison County Transit Department.
“We were able to transport them to a safe location and reunite them with loved ones or get them assistance,” Fillback said. “We’re still working to identify if there are still other individuals in the building and how to get through the debris in order to get them assistance.”
One person was rescued from the rubble and airlifted to a St. Louis hospital. His condition is unknown at this time. A few other workers also suffered minor injuries.
Chief Fillback spoke earlier about the challenges that rescue workers are facing.
“You have concrete and you have things hanging, it’s quite windy outside, so things are unstable,” he said.
Authorities are pledging to keep that effort up until every single person is accounted for. The Edwardsville mayor is asking for prayers as the community copes with this tragedy.
Several agencies throughout the St. Louis area are helping with the rescue. Authorities are also urging onlookers to avoid the area.
“Be patient with us. Our fire rescue, they’re doing everything they can, and they’ve got to do it in a safe manner,” said Fillback. “They’re not going to leave the scene until everyone is accounted for.”
According to the Associated Press, Amazon spokesperson Richard Rocha released the following statement Friday night: “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.”
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said on Facebook that the Illinois State Police and disaster officials were coordinating with local officials in Edwardsville, and he was monitoring the situation.
“My prayers are with the people of Edwardsville tonight, and I’ve reached out to the mayor to provide any needed state resources,” Pritzker said.
It’s unclear how many people are in the building. FOX 2 will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
Images from Bommarito Automotive Group SkyFOX Helicopter above the Edwardsville Amazon facility Saturday morning: