Amazon tornado victims speak nearly 5 months since the collapse

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 12:02 PM CDT|Updated: May. 3, 2022 at 7:17 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The victims of the deadly Amazon warehouse collapse after a tornado touched down in Edwardsville spoke nearly five months after the incident on Tuesday.

There are currently several lawsuits against Amazon for the collapse in which six people died. Deon January, the mother of victim Deandre Morrow, spoke at the press conference. She says Amazon management told Morrow to stay at the warehouse, where there was no tornado shelter. Morrow died in the collapse.

“The tornado happened by chance, but Amazon’s cruelty was by choice,” January said.

Morrow’s family, along with four survivors of the tornado, filed a lawsuit against Amazon, claiming the company could have done more to protect employees. Federal investigators have since recommended three changes Amazon should implement but did not formally cite or fine them.

“If Amazon can contact me about making extra deliveries, Amazon can contact me about a tornado,” said Jamarco Hickman, a survivor of the tornado.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit and their attorneys want Amazon to prove what it is doing differently before rebuilding. They also want an independent investigation.

“Amazon did not build this warehouse with a solid foundation,” said attorney Ben Crump, who is representing some of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit.

News 4 recently uncovered a memo by engineer and first responder Dan Bruno. He was called to the warehouse the night of the storm, and he says he saw several support beams that were not anchored to the foundation, which is a building code violation. No other investigations into the structure have been announced.

Amazon representatives maintain the warehouse was built to code and since added more severe weather training and drills for employers. Amazon says it is considering the recommendations federal investigators mentioned.