EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Emergency responders said Illinois victims were found in two locations of the destroyed Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville Friday night.
The damage was extensive, destroying about 150 yards of the facility, according to Edwardsville Fire Chief James Whiteford.
He said the walls on both sides of the building collapsed inward and the roof of the building collapsed downward so most of the weight of the building landed centrally into the building.
“The walls are made out of about 11 inches thick concrete and they’re about 45 feet tall, so a lot of weight when they came down,” he said.
He notes the initial recovery was hazardous as the building was still charged with electricity at the time, water was pouring into the building from broken water mains and gas was leaking from broken natural gas lines.
But as a multi-state response of police, fire, EMS, physicians and emergency management agencies poured in, they’re pointing out others who also responded.
According to first responders at the scene, many tradesmen showed up to Friday night to help in whatever way they could. Not only were they not on the clock, they weren’t contracted to work. They simply wanted to help.
Carpenters, millwrights, laborers, iron workers, tow truck operators and operating engineers quickly arrived as rescue efforts began.
They arrived with concrete saws, cranes, excavators and any tool they thought would be of use in reaching victims and they often left their equipment for use by first responders as it was needed.
One rescue official noted that in an absolutely tragic event these people appeared out of nowhere with nothing to gain other than going home knowing maybe they were able to help because they know how to build it and they know how it comes back down.