Reuters reports up to 50 workers became trapped inside the facility after a roof and other parts of the building collapsed. Edwardsville Police Chief Mike Fillback told reporters that at least 30 workers were transported by bus from the scene, while two people were taken by helicopter to local hospitals for treatment.
“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.”
Amazon spokesperson Richard Rocha said in a written 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.”
While officials are waiting to release the names of the victims, Fox 2 St. Louis reports the mother of Clayton Cope, a maintenance worker at the fulfillment center, has confirmed that her son is one of the casualties. “He was just 29-years-old,” a reporter wrote on Twitter. “His parents and so many others are going through unbearable loss just before Christmas. Please pray for their healing.”
As previously reported, there were were at least 18 confirmed tornadoes across four states late Friday night: Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency early Saturday morning after at least 50 people were killed in his home state. “We’re going to lose over 50 people, probably closer to somewhere between 70 and 100,” Beshear said at a press conference. “It’s devastating.”