The identities of the six people who lost their lives after a tornado hit an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Southern Illinois have been released.
According to reports, the victims include a Navy vet who tried to warn his coworkers before the storm hit, and a single mother with a 1-year-old son.
Relatives of Etheria S. Hebb, 34, who worked as a delivery driver, told how she was the “kindest person ever”, as well as a single mom to 1-year-old son Malik.
“She was the life of the party and always did everything for everyone,” her sister, Tiara Hebb, told the New York Post.
“She always checked on everyone.”
Tiara added: “She was a wonderful mother.”
A total of six people were killed at the Edwardsville facility on Friday evening, when both sides of the building collapsed inwards, causing the roof to come down.
On Sunday, the victims were formally identified Deandre S. Morrow, 28, of St. Louis; Kevin D. Dickey, 62, of Carlyle; Clayton Lynn Cope, 29, of Alton; Larry E. Virden, 46, of Collinsville; and Austin J. McEwen, 26, of Edwardsville.
As per reports, one of the fallen, six-year Navy vet, Clayton Cope, had warned his coworkers of the incoming tornado. His sister told CNN that: “He was trying to alert more people about the storm.”
Larry Virden, meanwhile, was an Army veteran who started working as an Amazon delivery driver just six months ago. His girlfriend of 13 years, Cherie Jones, said Amazon wouldn’t let him leave, and instead told him to stay put until the storm had passed.
Cherie said: “I got text messages from him. He always tells me when he is filling up the Amazon truck when he is getting ready to go back…I was like ‘ OK, I love you.’ He’s like ‘well Amazon won’t let me leave until after the storm blows over.”
“We heard the tornado didn’t touch down until 8:39 so he had 20 minutes to get home.”
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has garnered some amount of criticism after releasing a post that celebrated the third launch of his Blue Origin’s human spaceflight in the aftermath of the hurricane.
He later tweeted to express his sympathy for the tragedy in Edwardsville.
“The news from Edwardsville is tragic,” he wrote. “We’re heartbroken over the loss of our teammates there, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones.”
Bezos added: “All of Edwardsville should know that the Amazon team is committed to supporting them and will be by their side through this crisis.”
Rest in peace to the victims of this terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this time.
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