Pritzker tours Edwardsville tornado damage, issues disaster proclamation

Gov. JB Pritzker thanked all of the first responders who have worked day and night to try and...
Gov. JB Pritzker thanked all of the first responders who have worked day and night to try and save lives at the collapsed Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville.(CNN)
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 11:23 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - Gov. JB Pritzker has issued a disaster proclamation to help people recover from the tornadoes and other storms over the weekend.

He also provided an update Monday morning about the deadly Amazon warehouse collapse in Edwardsville Friday night.

Six Amazon employees died, and Pritzker said another person is still in the hospital after the incident.

Walls on both sides of the Amazon warehouse collapsed inward while the roof collapsed downward around 8:30 p.m. Friday. Pritzker asked public officials and first responders to pause for a moment of silence Monday for the injured and those lost in the tragedy.

He thanked all of the local first responders who worked day and night to try and save lives. The governor also called for a full investigation into what happened to the employees during the tornado.

“While we cannot prevent natural disasters, we can strive to prevent future tragedies and ensure that all Illinoisans make it home safe at the end of their shift,” Pritzker said.

Amazon officials said there were 46 people in the warehouse when the tornado came through. While most were able to make it to a designated shelter area, seven did not.

Pritzker wants an investigation into the building safety codes and protocols Amazon had in place Friday night.

“This is a tragedy of enormous proportion,” Pritzker said. “We have not seen something like this for quite a while in the state of Illinois. And unfortunately, these kinds of storms are happening more and more often.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is now investigating the collapse. Amazon officials said they’ll fully cooperate with that investigation.

The Illinois congressional delegation sent a letter to President Joe Biden Monday urging the White House to support Pritzker’s request for federal aid. The bipartisan group said the state needs public assistance to continue responding to and recovering from the disaster.

The Pritzker administration is working with the White House and FEMA officials to get federal resources to the Edwardsville community. The disaster proclamation allows Illinois to use state resources, personnel, and equipment to help the communities hardest hit by storms across Central Illinois.

Gray Television is teaming up with the Salvation Army to provide relief for those affected by the deadly tornado outbreak that hit several states on Friday and Saturday. The campaign is called Heal the Heartland.

You can donate directly to the Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts in Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Tennessee by texting HLTORNADO to 51555.

You can also donate online by clicking here. Your entire donation will go toward the disaster relief operation you select, and there are no administrative fees.

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