TWINSBURG, Ohio – The National Weather Service reports a downburst with 70 miles per hour winds caused damage to the roof of the Twinsburg Amazon Fulfillment Center Sunday, where two employees were injured.
Amazon said the Independence Parkway facility remained closed Monday, with workers told to stay home as the company assessed the damage and planned for repairs.
The 25 yard-wide downburst occurred just after 6:30 p.m., as employees were reporting for their shift at the warehouse. Workers said they were called to a safety meeting place amid a tornado warning when they heard the sound of a freight train and a crashing sound.
Wind from the downburst tore open the roof, leaving a hole about 100 feet long by two feet wide, according to Twinsburg Fire Chief Tim Morgan.
Cell phone video showed water pouring inside the facility, while workers were gathered below and a supervisor asked if anyone was hurt.
“We all went to the safety area, and as we were going there we heard a massive roar, and the roof got hit,” said employee Matthew Platek. “It was like a freight train followed by a loud crash.”
Morgan said two employees suffered minor injuries: one was hit by falling debris and another suffered an ankle injury as workers scrambled to get to safety.
An HVAC unit was also damaged, causing a gas leak, Morgan said.
“As near as we can tell, the wind lifted the roof up and set it back down,” Morgan said, noting other buildings in the area sustained only minor damage.
The building, which opened last year, was evacuated. An Amazon spokesperson said the company could not estimate when repairs will be made and the building will reopen.
“The building was immediately to evacuated, as the safety of our associates and partners is our top priority,” said spokesperson Rachael Lighty. “At this time, the building remains closed as we assess the damage and complete repairs. We will work directly with customers if they have any issues.”
Morgan said he expects repairs could take several days.
“It’s going to take a considerable amount of work because a number of trusses were bent and several roof panels were out of place, and the HVAC unit,” he said.