At least six workers were killed when an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, buckled under the force of a devastating storm on Friday.

The force of Friday's storm was so severe that the roof of an Amazon.com building in Illinois was ripped off and 11-inch thick concrete walls, longer than football fields, fell in on themselves.
The force of Friday's storm was so severe that the roof of an Amazon.com building in Illinois was ripped off and 11-inch thick concrete walls, longer than football fields, fell in on themselves. (Reuters)

The US has opened an investigation into an Amazon building collapse that killed six workers in Edwardsville, Illinois after it buckled under the force of a devastating storm.

US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has six months to complete its investigation, issue citations and propose monetary penalties if violations of workplace safety and or health regulations are found, US Department of Labor Regional Director for Public Affairs Scott Allen said on Monday. 

Compliance officers have been on site since Saturday.

An Amazon spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The storm was part of the barrage of tornadoes that ripped through six US states, leaving a trail of death and destruction stretching more than 200 miles.

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Deadly force

The National Weather Service said a tornado hit the area between 8:28 pm and 8:32 pm local time on Friday, intensifying rapidly as it struck the Amazon warehouse.

With estimated peak winds of 241 kilometres per hour, the force was so severe that the roof was ripped off and 11-inch thick concrete walls longer than football fields fell in on themselves.

At least 45 Amazon employees made it out safely.

READ MORE: Why is the US the tornado capital of the world?

Authorities had given up hope of finding more survivors as they shifted from rescue to recovery efforts that were expected to last days.

The company has three facilities in Edwardsville: the delivery station hit by the storm as well as a fulfilment centre and a sorting station.

The delivery station opened in July 2020 to prepare orders for last-mile delivery to customers.

READ MORE: Tornado outbreak likely 'one of the largest' in US history

Source: Reuters