edwardsville tornado

Pritzker Issues Disaster Proclamation, OSHA Investigates Amazon Warehouse Collapse

The disaster proclamation, issued for counties across central and southern Illinois, allows the state to expedite the use of state resources to procure additional resources to help communities recover from the storm, Pritzker's office said in a statement.

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As Gov. JB Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation Monday for Illinois communities impacted by last week's tornado, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an investigation into the collapse of an Amazon warehouse during the storm.

The disaster proclamation, issued for counties across central and southern Illinois, allows the state to expedite the use of state resources to procure additional resources to help communities recover from the storm, Pritzker's office said in a statement.

"We are working directly with the White House and FEMA to ensure access to all federal resources for this community," Pritzker said in a statement. "And as local entities work to secure federal reimbursements and recovery dollars, we will assist every step of the way."

Counties included in the disaster declaration include: Bond, Cass, Champaign, Coles, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Greene, Grundy, Iroquois, Jackson, Jersey, Kankakee, Lawrence, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Pike, Sangamon, Shelby, Tazewell, and Woodford.

An OSHA spokesperson confirmed Monday the administration has opened an investigation into the building collapse at the Amazon warehouse because of a tornado.

"OSHA has had compliance officers at the complex since Saturday, Dec. 11, to provide assistance," the spokesperson said in a statement. "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."

Officials in Edwardsville have identified the six victims who were killed Friday when a tornado struck an Amazon warehouse, causing the building to partially collapse.

According to the National Weather Service, an EF-3 tornado, packing wind gusts of up to 155 miles per hour, struck the area on Friday night during an outbreak of severe weather, causing severe damage to the warehouse and knocking over several portions of exterior wall at the building.

The victims were identified as:

-Austin McEwen, 26

-Deandre Morrow, 28

-Clayton Lynn Cope, 29

-Etheria Hebb, 34

-Larry Virden, 46

-Kevin Dickey, 62

Firefighters are continuing to remove debris from the site and working with Amazon officials to account for all personnel that were in the building when the tornado struck. At least 45 people were rescued, and one other person was hospitalized due to their injuries.

There are no current reports of missing persons at the building, but Edwardsville officials are urging any residents with missing loved ones to call police at 618-656-2131.

Drone video shows the devastation the morning after deadly tornadoes tore through Western Kentucky.

The tornado was part of a massive outbreak of severe weather that struck Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee on Friday night. The storm system produced a devastating tornado that struck Mayfield, Kentucky, killing dozens of victims and leveling most of the town.

Parts of several other towns, including Bowling Green, were also destroyed by tornadoes during the outbreak, with Gov. Andy Beshear calling for federal assistance to residents devastated by the storms.

"Since Friday’s tragedy at the Amazon warehouse, local organizations and teams of first responders have worked tirelessly to provide stability and comfort to the Edwardsville community," said State Senator Rachelle Aud Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) in a statement. "By enacting a disaster proclamation, the state is taking action to make resources readily available to assist residents during the recovery process."

"As our community looks ahead following the devastating storms that hit our region last weekend, now is a time for us to come together to support each other and heal," said State Representative Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) in a statement.

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