ST. LOUIS, Mo.-- A fire marshal who performed a structural assessment at the scene of a deadly tornado which ravaged an Amazon warehouse in December had concerns that the structure may not have been built to international building code specifications. That’s according to a report obtained by an activist group in support of labor causes.

The tornado killed six people at the Edwardsville, Ill. facility on December 10

According to a report obtained by More Perfect Union, Dan Bruno, the fire marshal for West County EMS & Fire, who was on scene in support of search and rescue efforts, was asked to do a structural assessment of the building. Bruno, and another engineer said he observed columns which appeared to have been lifted from the floor. 

“I became concerned when I noticed that none of the columns appeared to be ripped or torn from the base. This was especially concerning to me, knowing that the International Building Code (IBC) requires structural members to be secured against uplift and wind loads, among other things,” said Bruno in the report.




Chuck Billings, an attorney for West County EMS & Fire confirmed that Bruno authored the report, which has been forwarded to investigators with OSHA. Billings told Spectrum News that Bruno is a professional engineer but was not on scene of the incident in that capacity and “wouldn’t call him an expert.”

A wrongful death suit filed in January names Amazon, the warehouse’s builder, Contegra Construction and the site’s developer, Tri-Star properties, as defendants. 

A Contegra spokeswoman declined to comment Tuesday. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment but said at the time the lawsuit was filed that the suit “misunderstands key” facts related to the condition and safety of the building, according to the Associated Press.

On March 31, members of the U.S. House Oversight Committee wrote Amazon seeking information about Amazon policies, including those in place for severe weather at the time of the December tornado.

“The Committee seeks to fully understand the events that led to the tragedy at Amazon’s Edwardsville facility. We also seek information about Amazon’s workplace policies or practices that may have prevented the workers from seeking safe shelter, as well as Amazon’s actions in responding to other severe weather incidents and natural disasters. This investigation will inform legislative efforts to curb unfair labor practices, strengthen protections for workers, and address the effects of climate change on worker safety,” the letter addressed to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said.