Edwardsville Fire Department Releases Statement About The Tornado

Courtesy of the Edwardsville Fire Department

EDWARDSVILLE – At approximately 8:35 p.m. on Friday, December 10th, the Edwardsville Fire Department was dispatched for the report of a building collapse at 3077 Gateway Commerce Center Dr S, an Amazon facility in our warehouse district.

The department initially responded Engine 1310 and Medic units 1341 and 1344, Chiefs 1300 and 1301, along with multiple Edwardsville Police Department officers. While enroute, our dispatch center advised that a large section of the building had been struck by a possible tornado, multiple people were trapped and injured, and there were possible fatalities. Very quickly, the incident evolved into a technical rescue effort and mass casualty incident.

All available off-duty EFD personnel were notified, reported to the stations for additional equipment, and responded to the scene. Additional EMS and fire units from across Madison, St Clair and St Louis Counties were also requested to the scene as well as Technical Rescue Teams from Madison County, St. Louis City and St. Clair County. Arriving units were met with the chaos of a mass casualty event, large structural collapse, downed power lines, gas leaks, and water flooding the building. Plans were immediately implemented to establish triage for victims, address accountability for people inside the structure when the event occurred, mitigate power, water and gas hazards, and organize search operations of the collapsed structure.

Madison County Emergency Management Agency was requested to support the responders on the scene and to assist in procuring outside resources. Numerous fire departments, EMS agencies, technical rescue teams, law enforcement agencies, public works and private agencies/contractors were involved. The list of further resources eventually included Ameren, Air Methods, Petroff Towing, and physicians associated with St. Louis Rescue Task Force.

Survivors of the incident were triaged and those that didn’t require medical treatment were transported by Madison County Transit bus to the Pontoon Beach Police Department where a reunification center was established. This incident was caused by a tornado later confirmed by the National Weather Service as an EF-3 with winds between 136 and 165 mph.

During the initial response, a second system of severe weather came through. Responders continued operations through the subsequent storm cell.The next morning search and rescue efforts transitioned to search and recovery operations, and mutual aid agencies began to be released from the incident.

Edwardsville and Madison County EMA continued to work with the property owner, Amazon and contractors to secure and clear the incident site.

Chris Rhodes
Author: Chris Rhodes

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