Officials are investigating if the Amazon warehouse hit by Friday’s tornado in Illinois had any structural issues before the storm, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.
After touring the damaged warehouse Monday, he said a priority is to find out what happened in the Edwardsville building and investigate the situation. He said the local government, fire chief and incident commander in the area were already looking into what happened at the warehouse and that the investigation is ongoing.
He said the tornado was unexpected — but that as unexpected storms increase in frequency, changes could be needed.
“It makes us wonder if there needs to be a change in code for these buildings,” Pritzker said.
Kelly Nantel of Amazon said that the building was constructed consistent with code, but they are evaluating and making sure they learn from the incident.
Nantel said that the room where employees gathered during the storm is an interior room of the facility, but it isn’t considered a “safe room.” Instead, it’s a “take shelter” room and had enough capacity for those who were working on Friday night, according to John Feldman, with Amazon.
Nantel said employees were alerted via sirens that went off, as well as alerts sent to their cell phones. Leaders of the facilities also went through and told the employees on site about the warning. She said that employees are allowed to have their cell phones with them during their shift.
Feldman said that procedure was followed correctly by both employees and management. He said there was a “tremendous effort” to keep everyone safe on Friday night.