EDWARDSVILLE (KMOV.com) – As News 4 Investigates continues to dig into what happened the night of the Edwardsville Amazon warehouse disaster and whether more could have been done to protect workers, new details are emerging of the construction company that built the space.
Contegra Construction defends its work at the warehouse. That’s the most detail News 4 Investigate has received from builders so far. In a four-page statement, Contegra explains how the warehouse was built. Contegra claims that the structural steelwork was made by an “experienced steel erector”.
Contegra’s statement explains that Amazon’s warehouse used a design that called for metal sleeves to be anchored to the foundation, and then steel support columns were placed in those metal sleeves. Contegra indicates that the support columns were welded to the metal sleeves. In the statement, Contegra included a photo of a column that it says shows evidence of the weld.
For months, News 4 Investigates searched for answers.
A recent News 4 Investigates report revealed a memo from Dan Bruno, an engineer and first responder, who was called to the warehouse the night of the December 10, 2021 storm. In the memo, Bruno claims to have saw support columns that were not anchored to the foundation, which is a building code violation.
News 4 Investigates also took a closer look at how the Amazon warehouse was built using tilting construction, a design known to cause catastrophic failures during powerful storms.
The family of one of the six Amazon workers killed in the tornado has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Amazon, Contegra Construction and several other companies involved in the design of the warehouse. Family attorney Jack Casciato of Clifford Law Offices spoke about Dan Bruno’s memo with News 4 Investigates earlier this month.
“It was your warehouse, it’s almost as common as someone buying a house and blaming the defect on the previous owner,” Casciato said. “You occupy this, you take advantage of this warehouse, this is where your workers are present, what do you do as one of the largest companies, if not the largest company, to ensure that the correct inspections are done and not just what the government requires, but what Amazon is able to use in terms of resources.
Days after the tornado, Amazon representatives said the building was up to code, which Amazon continues to maintain. Amazon says it is investigating the structural integrity of the warehouse. News 4 Investigates asked if the results would be made public, Amazon replied that it was being handled privately.
News 4 Investigates also asked the city of Edwardsville for inspection records at the warehouse
Since News 4 started asking questions, a congressional committee is now investigating Amazon to see if the company was risking worker safety.
News 4 also polled Illinois lawmakers who said they want to consider changing warehouse building codes.
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