Edwardsville honors Amazon warehouse victims killed during tornado's destruction

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Saturday, December 18, 2021
Edwardsville, IL honors Amazon warehouse victims killed during tornado's destruction
The City of Edwardsville, Illinois honors the lives lost after a tornado ripped through an Amazon warehouse last Friday.

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- A candlelight vigil was held Friday night to honor the lives lost to the Edwardsville tornado.

It took place at the Amazon facility one week to the day an EF-3 tornado ripped through the building killing six people. A memorial ceremony is also taking place Saturday morning.

The victims of the deadly storm have been identified as Deandre S. Morrow, 28, of St. Louis Kevin D. Dickey, 62, of Carlyle, Illinois Clayton Lynn Cope 29, of Alton, Illinois Etheria S. Hebb, 34 ,of St. Louis Larry E. Virden, 46, of Collinsville, Illinois Austin J. McEwen 26, Edwardsville, Illinois.

OSHA said it is continuing to investigate the deadly collapse and it's expected to take six months.

Amazon said said the site received tornado warnings and alerts, and employees worked quickly to ensure as many people as possible could get to a designated shelter-in-place location. In this case, the site got tornado warnings between 8:06 and 8:16 p.m. local time, and site leaders directed people on site to immediately take shelter. It appears the tornado formed in the parking lot and struck the building at 8:27 p.m., according to Amazon, which said it all happened incredibly fast.

The majority of the workers took shelter in a primary designated location, and a small group took shelter in another part of the building that was then directly impacted by the tornado, according to Amazon, which said this is where most of the deaths occurred.

Amazon said it was donating $1 million to the Edwardsville Community Foundation, in addition to working with local officials to assist with recovery efforts. The company also said it was reaching out to the victims' families to see how it can best support them.