Second body found in collapsed Baltimore Amazon.com warehouse after possible tornado
- It is believed strong winds may have caused the building to collapse on Friday
- A section of the outer wall and the roof of the structure collapsed
A second body was found Saturday in the partial building collapse at an Amazon.com warehouse in Baltimore, after high winds and drenching rain swept through the Washington region.
The National Weather Service said it was sending damage assessment teams to Baltimore and Mount Airy, Maryland, to see whether tornadoes had touched down there.
Structural damage was reported at a shopping centre in Mount Airy and elsewhere in the region as powerful winds accompanied an arriving cold front.
The collapse at the warehouse in southeast Baltimore could not be definitively attributed to Friday night’s storms, but “we did have some weather that came through about the time we got the calls”, said Chief Roman Clark, spokesman for the Baltimore fire department.
A wind gust of 71mph was reported in the Hampstead, Maryland, area in Carroll County, and roofs were ripped off two flat buildings in Baltimore County.
“We have two survey teams headed out,” Brandon Fling, a meteorologist at the Weather Service’s office in Sterling, Virginia, said on Saturday. “One’s going to the Mount Airy region, and the other one is going to the Baltimore City, Dundalk area.”
The surveys will check to see whether there was “straight line wind damage or if it’s tornadic damage,” he said. In the latter case, the damage might be more severe, and a swerving path might be seen.
In Baltimore, the fire department’s Clark said damage to the Amazon warehouse involved a section of the outer wall measuring about 50 feet by 50 feet collapsing. An adjacent part of the roof also collapsed.
The warehouse is a long, flat-roofed structure.
Clark said the first person who died was found under heavy debris. “We just found the other one this morning” in the same building, he said Saturday. Their identities were not available, he said.
Numerous reports of damage began coming in from the Mount Airy vicinity, where the storm arrived about 8.20pm on Friday.
Baltimore is about 35 miles east of Mount Airy.
Gusts in the 40mph range were measured at several locations in the region.
Tornado warnings were issued late Friday night for parts of Prince George’s County, Charles County and St Mary’s County.
However, shortly before 11pm, the Weather Service reported a weakening in the storm that had prompted the warnings.