Storms kill 2 in Arkansas damage Illinois Amazon warehouse. At least two people were killed Friday night when a reported tornado ripped through an Arkansas nursing home, and emergency crews in southern Illinois were responding to reports of injuries at an Amazon warehouse after a roof collapsed amid storms there.
Craighead County, Ark., Judge Marvin Day told the Associated Press that a tornado struck near the Monette Manor nursing home around 8:15 p.m., causing the building to collapse and trapping 20 people inside. The building was largely cleared within about 90 minutes, with everyone initially believed to have been inside accounted for, but Day said crews still must search the debris for possible additional victims.
“It looks like it’s pretty much destroyed,” Day said of the building.
“It happens quick, but apparently there was a little bit of time with tornado sirens going off,” he said, adding that some residents were found in the basement “and were prepared for this.”
Five people had serious injuries, and a few others had minor ones, he said. The nursing home has 86 beds.
Day cautioned residents to continue to shelter in place.
“The worst thing to do would be to leave,” he said.
About 200 miles north, footage from St. Louis TV stations showed dozens of emergency vehicles at the Amazon center near Edwardsville, Ill., a northeastern suburb of St. Louis. It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were hurt, but the Collinsville, Ill., Emergency Management Agency said on Facebook that it was a “mass casualty incident.” One official told KTVI-TV that up to 100 people were believed to be in the building, working the night shift, at the time of the collapse.
The Belleville, Ill., News-Democrat reported that the Amazon distribution center in Edwardsville opened with two warehouses in 2016, with 1.5 million square feet of space. The warehouses store items for shipping to mail-order customers.
A photo in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch showed a large portion of a wall and the roof of the massive Amazon warehouse had collapsed.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the warehouse damage was caused by straight-line storms or a tornado, but a large tornado was reported in the area around the time the building was damaged. The National Weather Service office near St. Louis issued reports of “radar-confirmed tornadoes” in the Edwardsville area.
Workers at the Weather Service themselves had to take shelter as a tornado passed near their office in Weldon Spring, Mo., about 30 miles west of St. Louis. That twister was suspected of destroying several homes in the Missouri towns of New Melle and Defiance, leaving at least three people injured, one of them hospitalized with serious injuries. Rescue crews worked into the night sifting through damage to make sure no one else had been hurt.
The Amazon warehouse collapse came as a strong thunderstorm and possibly tornadoes ripped through the St. Louis area. Winds of up to 70 mph were reported in parts of St. Charles and St. Louis counties in Missouri. In St. Charles County, at least three residents were hospitalized and several homes near Augusta were damaged.
“The safety and well-being of our employees and partners is our top priority right now,” Amazon spokesperson Richard Rocha said in a written statement Friday night. “We’re assessing the situation and will share additional information when it’s available.”
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said on Twitter that Illinois State Police and disaster officials were coordinating with Edwardsville officials, and that he was monitoring the situation.
“My prayers are with the people of Edwardsville tonight, and I’ve reached out to the mayor to provide any needed state resources,” Pritzker said.
Illinois and Arkansas were among several places in the Midwest that reported tornadoes Friday.
Storms caused additional damage as they tracked through Tennessee and into Kentucky. Several buildings collapsed in the southwestern Kentucky community of Mayfield, said Sarah Burgess, a trooper with the Kentucky State Police.
Burgess said that several people were trapped inside a damaged candle factory in Mayfield, and that authorities were working to clear trees and power lines from roads in order to begin assessing damage.
Photos from Mayfield posted to social media showed uprooted trees, a courthouse steeple sheared off and businesses’ windows blown out.
A day after 55 migrants who were being smuggled through Mexico died in a tractor-trailer crash, officials here promised justice.
“There will be no impunity,” said Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, vowing that Mexico would take “immediate action” against the human traffickers who had packed nearly 200 migrants into a truck that careened into a bridge in the state of Chiapas on Thursday.
Such a prosecution would be rare in a country that has shown little will or ability to punish those responsible for crimes against migrants.
For decades, people traversing the 1,000-mile stretch between Mexico’s southern and northern borders have suffered unspeakable abuses — rapes, kidnappings and massacres, in addition to crashes — and the perpetrators have rarely been brought to justice.