United States

Amazon didn’t allow workers killed by tornado to leave Illinois warehouse

22:00, 13 December 2021
Amazon didn’t allow workers killed by tornado to leave Illinois warehouse Photo: Patrick Pleul/ZB​​​​​​​/Global Look Press

The information was reported by victim Larry Virden’s girlfriend who tried to reach him on the day of the natural disaster.


The girlfriend of one of Amazon warehouse’s employees who died in a calamitous tornado that recently hit several states of the US, predominantly Kentucky, told media that the company forbade its workers to leave the building shortly before the natural event.

Cherie Jones who was Larry Virden’s girlfriend for 13 years texted him shortly before the tragedy which took the lives of at least six staff members and injured dozens of others trapped inside the 1.1-million-square-foot (25-acre) facility

“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, He’s like, ‘well Amazon won’t let me leave until after the storm blows over,’” Jones said in an interview given to The Post.

The couple which has three kids lives around 13 away from the warehouse. Jones’s last message warned her partner that nothing serious was going on near their house at the time when the tornado struck.

“I told him that where we live, it was only lightning at the time. After that, I got nothing from him.”

She did not accuse the firm but admitted that things could have gone otherwise if he had left.

“It’s that what-if situation: What if they would have let him leave? He could have made it home.”

Virden, who had been working for five months for Amazon, was father to four children, three of them with Jones, including adopted. He was also an Iraq veteran.

According to Jones, the kids cannot reconcile themselves with the loss.

“My oldest boy, he thinks that Daddy is going to come home, but now we have to tell him that Daddy’s not coming home. When my daughter came into the house, she was like, ‘Where’s Daddy? Where’s Daddy?’ And she started bawling because she knew something was wrong.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into the tragedy which occurred on Friday.