EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - Amazon has been slapped with a wrongful death lawsuit over last winter's deadly tornado. Now, an attorney claims structural flaws cost six people their lives.
The lawyer says he has proof the building wasn't structurally sound. However, both Amazon and the city of Edwardsville are disputing that claim.
It was four months ago when an Ef-3 tornado ripped through an Amazon distribution center in Edwardsville, Illinois. Six people working inside died when the building partially collapsed.
"I mean, how can you have workers working in a building where you know these support columns—or you should know—are not properly anchored and any severe inclement weather, especially in an area that calls itself tornado alley, could cause exactly what happened here to occur and walls to collapse on people," said Jack Casciato.
Casciato with Clifford Law Offices alleges that new findings show Amazon acted out of negligence in the construction of the distribution center.
"Within the last two weeks, we have obtained via a Freedom of Information (Act) request of a national structural engineer’s report that indicates the columns in the area where the building collapsed were unanchored, which is a grave violation of the International Building Code," Casciato said.
The Director of Finance for the city of Edwardsville, Jeanne Wojcieszak, released a statement saying the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is still examining the integrity of the building’s structure and, "First and foremost, determinations regarding the structural integrity of the building currently being made by any individual or group are premature, as the official investigation has not been completed."
Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel says the company is conducting its own investigation into the collapse and, "Investigators continue to conduct a comprehensive forensic examination of the building and debris — so it’s premature and misleading to suggest there were any structural issues."
Amazon says in 2018 the building was in compliance and was reinspected and passed city inspections in 2020 when Amazon leased the building.