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EDWARDSVILLE - Edwardsville Fire Department Chief James Whiteford announced Saturday night that at least six have died after an EF-3 tornado ripped through the Amazon Warehouse around 8:30 p.m. Friday. Whiteford and others spoke at a press conference at the Edwardsville Public Safety Building.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Edwardsville Police Chief Mike Fillback, and Edwardsville Mayor Art Risavy joined Whiteford as spokespeople at the press event.
A National Weather Service meteorologist in St. Louis confirmed Saturday afternoon after a survey, the NWS has determined the tornado that cause a portion of the warehouse to collapse was an EF-3. The person said winds were between 150 and 160 miles per hour when it struck the Amazon warehouse.
Whiteford said 45 individuals made it out of the building safely and one other person was airlifted to a St. Louis hospital for treatment. The fire chief said 150 yards of the building had collapsed when the tornado hit.
Whiteford, Risavy and Pritzker both thanked all the departments and first responders who assisted since the warehouse collapsed Friday night.
Risavy also asked for continued prayers for the families who had lost loved ones in the disaster and for the first responders. Whiteford speculated it may take another three days in the search and recovery part of the mission and that would take place during daylight hours from dawn to dusk.
Risavy and Whiteford requested that people donate to the American Red Cross or Salvation Army if they want to provide assistance for the Salvation Army. Pritzker summed up Friday’s Amazon warehouse partial collapse and the casualties as “a tragic day in Illinois history.”
Following the devastating storms near Edwardsville and the press event, State Representative Katie Stuart shared the below statement:
“I am deeply saddened to hear about the deaths at the Amazon facility in Edwardsville. My heart breaks for the workers, their families, and all who were affected by last night’s deadly storms. I’m so grateful for our first responders who didn’t hesitate to put themselves in harm's way, braving severe weather, to rescue those who were trapped and save lives.
"I also want to thank Governor Pritzker for quickly deploying necessary resources to help those in need. If you are in the area and need any assistance with storm damage, please reach out to my office at 618-365-6500 or our local emergency management agency at 618-692-0537.”
A press conference video to come.
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