Amazon faces questions over safety at Illinois warehouse destroyed by tornado

New York, Dec 14: Amazon is facing questions over health and safety policies at a warehouse in the US state of Illinois, which was destroyed by a powerful tornado resulting in the deaths of six workers, the BBC reported.

"This never would have happened if they cared about lives over productivity," the sister of one of the victims commented on social media.

The company says its team had "worked quickly" in response to the tornado, the report said.

The roof collapsed as the tornado hit the warehouse on December 10.

Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, said in a statement the company is "deeply saddened" by the deaths.

One of those who died, Clayton Cope, 29, spoke to his family on the phone shortly before the building in the town of Edwardsville was struck.

Now, questions are being raised over whether adequate shelter was available, whether workers were advised to go there immediately, and whether the shifts should have gone ahead that evening at all, given the warnings of severe weather, the report added.

The Edwardsville site received tornado warnings between 8.06 p.m. and 8.16 p.m. on December 10 before the tornado struck the building at 8.27 p.m., Amazon said in a statement when contacted by the BBC, with events "happening incredibly fast".

The company said that the team worked "incredibly quickly" to ensure as many employees and partners could reach the "shelter in place" site, the report added.

One cargo driver, Austin J McEwen, 26, died in the bathroom, where many workers said they had been directed to shelter after receiving emergency alerts on their mobile phones.