Amazon employee texted girlfriend he wasn’t allowed to depart warehouse

One of many victims who was killed when a twister collapsed an Amazon warehouse in Illinois texted his girlfriend earlier than the lethal twister struck saying that the corporate had ordered him to carry off driving dwelling and keep put till the storm handed.

Larry Virden, 46, was killed Friday night time when the roof got here down at an enormous Amazon facility.

“I obtained textual content messages from him. He all the time tells me when he’s filling up the Amazon truck when he’s preparing to return … I used to be like ‘OK, I like you.’ He’s like, ‘effectively Amazon gained’t let me depart till after the storm blows over,’” his girlfriend of 13 years, Cherie Jones, instructed The Put up on Sunday. 

She stated the textual content was despatched round 8:23 p.m., 16 minutes earlier than the twister reportedly touched down at 8:39. The couple lived in close by Collinsville, which Jones stated is about 13 minutes away from the warehouse. 

Larry Virden (left) died when a tornado collapsed the Amazon warehouse in Illinois.
Larry Virden (left) died when a twister collapsed the Amazon warehouse in Illinois. His girlfriend, Cherie Jones, stated she acquired texts from him about 16 minutes earlier than the twister touched down.
Courtesy of Cherie Jones

“We heard the twister didn’t contact down till 8:39 so he had 20 minutes to get dwelling,” she stated.

“I messaged him and that was the final textual content message I obtained from him,” she stated. “I instructed him the place we dwell, it was solely lightning on the time. After that, I obtained nothing from him.”

Larry Virden was one of six Amazon workers that were killed when a warehouse caved in on itself on December 9, 2021.
Larry Virden was one among six Amazon staff who had been killed when a warehouse caved in on December 9, 2021.

Virden, who had labored for Amazon for 5 months, was the daddy of 4 youngsters, together with adopted youngsters, and the couple of 13 years had three youngsters collectively between the ages of 9 and 12.

Requested if she faults Amazon for his loss of life, Jones stated with a sigh: “Not likely. Nevertheless it’s that what-if state of affairs: What if they might have let him depart? He may have made it dwelling.”

Amazon stated the Edwardsville website acquired a twister warning by way of numerous alerts, and the crew on website on the time labored to get as many staff and companions into a chosen shelter space.

Cherie Jones (left) says that she received a from Larry Virden (right) saying the Amazon would not let the employees return home until the storm blew over.
Cherie Jones (left) says she acquired a textual content from Larry Virden (proper) saying Amazon wouldn’t let the workers return dwelling till the storm blew over.
Courtesy of Cherie Jones

She stated he appreciated working on the firm as a result of he set to work exterior.

Virden was an US Military veteran who served in Iraq.

“He had a missile blow up in entrance of him like 200 yards away, so he was fortunate over there,” she stated.

“When he was over there, he made his peace with the maker so he was ready to die. However we didn’t need him to die now,” she stated, her voice rising.

She stated her youngsters are having a tough time comprehending the lack of their father.

“My oldest boy, he thinks that Daddy goes to return dwelling, however now now we have to inform him that Daddy’s not coming dwelling. When my daughter got here into the home, she was like, ‘The place’s Daddy? The place’s Daddy?’ And she or he began bawling as a result of she knew one thing was mistaken.”

“The youngest doesn’t perceive it both. We’re actually going to have to sit down down with them.”

The 1.1 million-square-foot facility opened in July 2020 and employed about 190 people, Amazon stated. On website, orders had been ready for last-mile supply to prospects by Amazon’s supply service companions and Amazon Flex drivers. 

The corporate stated workers and drivers are permitted to have their cellphones whereas working, which might present emergency climate alerts and permit workers to contact members of the family.

Amazon has beforehand prohibited staff from having their telephones on warehouse flooring, forcing workers to depart their telephones of their automobiles or in worker lockers — a coverage that the corporate backed off on in the course of the pandemic, based on Bloomberg.

“After these deaths, there is no such thing as a manner in hell I’m counting on Amazon to maintain me secure,” an Amazon worker from a neighboring facility in Illinois instructed the outlet. “In the event that they institute the no-cellphone coverage, I’m resigning.”

The corporate stated Sunday it’s donating $1 million to the Edwardsville Neighborhood Basis to help restoration efforts. Amazon additionally stated it’s reaching out to the victims’ households to see the way it can help them and is moreover offering aid to different workers.

Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel stated in a press release Sunday: “We’re deeply saddened by the information that members of our Amazon household handed away on account of the storm in Edwardsville, IL. Our ideas and prayers are with the victims, their family members, and everybody impacted by the twister. We additionally wish to thank all the primary responders for his or her ongoing efforts on scene. We’re persevering with to offer help to our workers and companions within the space.”

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Most Popular

To Top