Deaths confirmed after tornado hits Amazon warehouse in Illinois

Moments after Mr. Harris entered the shelter, there was a “big roar” and the building began to shake, he said.

“I felt like the ground was pulling away from the ground,” he said. “I felt the wind blow and saw debris flying all over the place, and people started screaming and screaming and the lights went out.”

Mr. Harris compared the sensation to the earthquakes in California, where he grew up. “When the ground was shaking, that’s what it felt like,” he said. “I’m not afraid of anything, but it was scary.”

On Saturday morning, workers appeared to be using a crane to clear the wreckage from the site. Heavy machinery was brought in to move the collapsed walls, and rescue teams were checking the interiors of vehicles that had been crushed by the walls.

“We are deeply saddened by the news that members of our Amazon family have died as a result of the storm in Edwardsville, Ill.,” Said Kelly Nantel, Amazon spokesperson on Saturday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones and all those affected by the tornado.”

Amazon opened two warehouses in Edwardsville in 2016, employing about 2,200 people, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in 2017.

When Amazon opened the facility, “it put us on the map,” said Walter Williams, the economic development coordinator for Madison County, which includes Edwardsville, on Saturday. “When more and more people saw Amazon here, they started to say, ‘We have to look over there. “”

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