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Edwardsville Amazon warehouse rebuilding without storm shelter, documents show

According to documents from the city of Edwardsville, the warehouse will be built back to "pre-loss conditions."

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill — Reconstruction has begun on the Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville and plans show no signs of including a storm shelter. 

Months after six workers died when an EF3 tornado struck part of the building in December, reconstruction can be seen from I-270.

According to documents from the city of Edwardsville obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the permit says the damaged portions of the warehouse will be built back to "pre-loss conditions," which does not include a storm shelter.

Six employees died when the warehouse walls and roof collapsed on Dec. 10, taking shelter in a bathroom on the southern side of the building. According to Aaron Priddy of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Fairview Heights, they were unaware of a designated storm shelter on the northern side of the warehouse where other employees sought shelter. 

The OSHA released a Hazard Safety Letter in April saying the warehouse did meet minimum federal safety standards. But, there were "raised concerns about the potential risk to employees during severe weather emergencies." OSHA recommended Amazon review its policies and storm preparedness but there is no enforcement for them to do so.

There are currently no federal requirements for specialty-built storm shelters in warehouses, including the Edwardsville Amazon warehouse.

Two wrongful death lawsuits were filed against Amazon and five other companies involved in the design and construction of the facility. A negligent infliction of emotional distress lawsuit was also filed on behalf of four surviving members of the collapse. 

According to the building permits, the reconstruction began in June and will cost around $8 million. 

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