One of the workers at Amazon's Illinois warehouse who was killed in a roof collapse when the tornado hit was held back and asked not to leave till the storm passed, according to report. Larry Virden, 46, who was killed on Friday night when the roof came down at Amazon's Illinois facility, had sent a text to his girlfriends that he was being held back by the company and wasn't being allowed to drive home.
Virden's girlfriend has now said that he wouldn't have died had he left the facility and took shelter at home. Six people, including a navy vet were killed after the roof the warehouse collapsed when the tornado struck the Amazon facility. The news comes amid reports that despite learning about the tragedy, Jeff Bezos threw a lavish party at his Beverly Hills mansion this weekend.
Cherie Jones, Virden's girlfriend of 13 years said on Sunday that had the company not taken the wrong decision, he would have lived. "I got text messages from him. He always tells me when he is filling up the Amazon truck when he is getting ready to go back...I was like 'OK, I love you.' He's like, 'well Amazon won't let me leave until after the storm blows over,'" his girlfriend Cherie Jones told the New York Post on Sunday.
Jones said that she received the text messages around 8:23 pm. The tornado stuck 16 minutes later at 8:39 pm. Jones claims she lived with Virden at nearby Collinsville, which is just 13 minutes drive from the ware house. If that is to be believed, Virden definitely would have been back home and would have been saved.
"We heard the tornado didn't touch down until 8:39 so he had 20 minutes to get home," she said.
"I messaged him and that was the last text message I got from him," she said. "I told him where we live, it was only lightning at the time. After that, I got nothing from him," she told the outlet.
Couldn't Escape Death
Six people including a Navy vet who tried to warn his co-workers and a single mother with a 1-year-old son were among those killed when the roof the Amazon facility collapsed in Illinois on Friday after the deadly tornado struck.
Virden, a father of four, including adopted children, was one among them. He had been working for Amazon for five months and the couple had been staying together for 13 years had three children together between the ages of 9 and 12.
However, Jones doesn't blame Amazon entirely but believes that he he not been held back he would have lived today. "It's that what-if situation: what if they would have let him leave? He could have made it home," she told the outlet.
Virden was an US Army veteran who served in Iraq. "He had a missile blow up in front of him like 200 yards away, so he was lucky over there," she said.
"When he was over there, he made his peace with the maker so he was prepared to die. But we didn't want him to die now," she said adding that her children are having a difficult time comprehending the loss of their father.
Meanwhile, photos seen by DailyMail.com suggest a lavish party was thrown at Bezos' Beverly Hills mansion this weekend in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Following the tragedy, several warehouse employees said they're worried Amazon's controversial cell phone ban, which was temporarily lifted during the pandemic, would jeopardize safety. Many workers said that they are worried reinforcing the cell phone ban would prohibit them from checking weather alerts or calling for help during emergencies.