August 16, 2022

Amazon Warehouse Hit by Killer Tornado Only ‘Pegged’ to Floor

  • The family members of Austin McEwan, who died in an Amazon warehouse collapse, is suing the corporation. 
  • Attorney, Jack Casciato, alleges that the Amazon warehouse was not securely connected to the ground. 
  • He also slammed Jeff Bezos for not checking out the scene, “Thanks for the tweet, but that’s not plenty of.”

Amazon is dealing with a wrongful dying lawsuit from a single of the families bereaved in the December 10 warehouse collapse in Illinois, which happened when a tornado, which attained wind speeds of up to 150 mph, devastated the building and killed 6 workers.

The law firm symbolizing the bereaved spouse and children of Austin McEwen, 26, who died in an Illinois warehouse collapse, alleges that the warehouse was not adequately connected to the ground.

The McEwen household and lawyer Jack Casciato, associate at Chicago’s Clifford Regulation Places of work, are suing Amazon, as properly as Contegra and Tristor, two improvement corporations liable for the warehouse framework, on 4 counts of wrongful loss of life, which include carelessness costs. 

Austin McEwan, a delivery driver for Amazon who died in the Edwardsville warehouse collapse

Austin McEwen, a shipping driver for Amazon who died in the Edwardsville warehouse collapse

Clifford Legislation Offices

Telling Insider about the depth of the lawsuit, submitted January 18 at Madison County State Court, Casciato stated that a workforce informs it of climatologists, safety specialists, and structural engineers, all performing to realize how the Amazon warehouse collapsed. 

Casciato also instructed Insider that the investigation experienced discovered that the columns holding up the warehouse may perhaps not have been correctly fixed into the floor — and just “pegged” in — permitting them to be blown up and out of the ground, killing the 6 victims of the collapse. 

He included that the workforce had been not run by means of twister protection drills, producing the warehouse collapse a “chaotic scene.”

Casciato mentioned the deficiency of proper storm shelters in the warehouse, highlighting that Amazon sells these types of shelters. 

“How can you have a 1 million sq. foot warehouse without the need of correct shelters. [Amazon is] the richest corporation in the environment. How can they not have a warehouse with acceptable shelters?

“Amazon even sells FEMA (Federal Emergency Administration Administration) compliant storm shelters on your website, but you are not able to use them to shield your employees,” he explained to Insider.

amazon warehouse illinois

Recovery functions proceed immediately after the partial collapse of an Amazon Success Center in Edwardsville, Illinois on December 12, 2021.

Tim Vizer/AFP by way of Getty Photos

The McEwen household — who is the first of the bereaved people to file a lawsuit — say that “we hope, along with the other people who lost beloved ones, to get the responses we deserve. We know these responses will only come by submitting a lawsuit.”

Spouse and children ‘disappointed’ by Jeff Bezos ‘placing financial gain more than safety’

Casciato advised Insider that the household is “let down” that Jeff Bezos was “ready to go to House, but not capable to consider his corporate personal jet and fly to Edwardsville and at minimum fulfill the folks who dropped their beloved ones, the people today who do the job for you and assistance advance your company.” 


“Thanks for the tweet, but which is not sufficient,” Casciato included in his discussion with Insider. 

Casciato also instructed Insider that the fact that McEwen, as well as other employees that working day, have been forced to do the job in the course of a tornado was a indication of “earnings getting precedence more than safety.”

Casciato extra that Amazon tried to offer the McEwen household funds quickly soon after their son’s death. It was turned down as the company hoping to “butter up” the bereaved. 

In a statement, Alice and Randy McEwen — mother and father of Austin McEwen — claimed that “it appears that Amazon put income 1st throughout this holiday time as an alternative of the basic safety of our son and the other 5 people who shed loved types. Our condolences go out to the other people. We know with endurance we will get the answers and justice our son justifies.”

Talking at a video clip press meeting on Monday, Austin McEwen’s relatives recounted the lifetime of their late son, indicating the Amazon supply driver was established to get married to his very long-phrase girlfriend.

Austin’s mom, Alice McEwen,  described her son as a “extremely loved individual” with a “love for lifetime.” He spent his spare time searching, enjoying baseball, hockey, and traveling with his girlfriend of five many years.

An Amazon spokesperson told Insider the organization would defend towards the lawsuit.

“We believe that our workforce did the appropriate matter as before long as a warning was issued, and they labored to shift men and women to basic safety as rapidly as doable. We will protect towards this lawsuit, but our target carries on to be on supporting our workforce and partners, the families who shed loved types, the surrounding group, and all these influenced by the tornadoes,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a assertion despatched to Insider.

She additional that the lawsuit “misunderstands vital information, these as the big difference in between numerous sorts of extreme weather conditions and tornado alerts, as effectively as the condition and basic safety of the creating.”

“The real truth is that this was a new constructing much less than 4 years outdated, constructed in compliance with all applicable creating codes, and the local teams had been subsequent the temperature circumstances closely. Serious temperature watches are common in this part of the country and, while precautions are taken, are not result in for most companies to shut down,” reported Nantel.

Thoughts on how the catastrophe happened have also been questioned by a significant-profile group of US lawmakers, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They sent a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and Founder Jeff Bezos on December 20 demanding solutions about the collapse.