Illinois tornado: 6 killed in Amazon warehouse collapse include navy vet and single mom
Six workers who lost their lives when a tornado struck an Amazon warehouse in Illinois have been identified. Etheria S. Hebb, 34; Deandre S. Morrow, 28, of St. Louis, Mo.; Kevin D. Dickey, 62, of Carlyle, Ill.; Clayton Lynn Cope, 29, of Alton, Ill.; Larry E. Virden, 46, of Collinsville, Ill.; and Austin J. McEwen, 26, of Edwardsville, IIll, died when the deadly tornado struck at the Edwardsville facility.
Etheria S. Hebb, who lost her life in the tornado, was a single mother to a 1-year-old son, Malik. “She was the most sweetest, kindest person ever. She was such a beautiful soul,” her sister, Tiara Hebb, told New York Post. “She was the life of the party and always did everything for everyone. She always checked on everyone. She was a wonderful mother."
Deandre S. Morrow, another victim, was remembered for bringing “happiness and peace to everyone’s life” and being a “very loyal friend.” Larry E. Virden's family said that he was an Army Veteran who had signed up as an Amazon delivery driver only some months ago.
Relatives of McEwen — the youngest Amazon victim — were devastated. His grandfather, 80-year-old Billy McCewen, said that McEwen worked hard and was “a good gentleman.” “It’s pretty rough to have this all come up on you at once,” he said. “We are all hurting real bad.” “He was just a good, hardworking kid. He was working and he went inside and about that time a darn tornado hit. He was delivering stuff and when he got in there, it hit. Everyone should have known the time it was supposed to hit," he said. “I don’t blame nobody, it just happens.”
Clayton Cope, 29, who worked at an Amazon Delivery facility, decided to alert others about the impending disaster even though his mother, Carla, urged him “to get to shelter”. Clayton was one of the several people who lost their lives due to the storm. “He just said he needed to tell someone that [the tornado] was coming,” Carla Cope, his mother, told The Daily Beast. "He had a big heart and he was a very sweet man.”
According to officials, the roof of the Amazon warehouse was taken off by the storm. Besides those killed, dozens of employees were trapped inside the building. The storm destroyed the entire southern portion of the warehouse. “About half of it’s missing, it’s gone,” Edwardsville Fire Department Mark Mayfield said.
A series of destructive tornadoes and storms swept across as many as five states -- Kentucky, Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri in the past few days. The storms injured numerous people and the death toll is expected to rise to over 100. As a result of the storms, more than 2,00,000 customers remained without power as of Saturday morning, December 11, in Tennessee and Kentucky.