A storm tore through a massive Amazon warehouse in the US state of Illinois on Friday, officials said, with local media reporting around 100 workers trapped inside.
Officials were working through the early hours of Saturday to rescue employees at the facility – a third of which was reduced to rubble – who were on the night shift processing orders ahead of the Christmas holidays.
The Collinsville Emergency Management Agency described it as a “mass casualty incident” with “multiple subjects trapped at Amazon Warehouse”.
A tornado warning had been in effect in the area at the time of the incident.
Footage shared across US news channels and social media of the Edwardsville Amazon warehouse showed a large part of the facility’s roof ripped off while one of the walls had collapsed into the building, with rubble strewn across the site.
It was not immediately clear if anyone was hurt or killed.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzer said: “My prayers are with the people of Edwardsville tonight.”
“Our Illinois State Police and Illinois Emergency Management Agency are both coordinating closely with local officials and I will continue to monitor the situation,” he added.
Amazon assessing the situation
In a statement sent to local media, Amazon spokesperson Richard Rocha said “the safety and well-being of our employees and partners is our top priority right now. We’re assessing the situation and will share additional information when it’s available.”
Severe weather wreaked havoc in multiple southeastern and south-central US states Friday.
In Arkansas, one person was killed and 20 others were trapped after a tornado struck the Monette Manor nursing home, US media reported.
Craighead county official Marvin Day told local news channels that rescuers had successfully pulled out those trapped in the building while the structure was “pretty much destroyed”.
In Tennessee, at least two people were killed in storm-related incidents, an emergency management official told local media.