‘The walls caved in and I got pinned to the ground,’ Amazon warehouse survivor speaks following tragedy
By Gabriela Vidal
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EDWARDSVILLE, Illinois (KMOV) — It was a terrifying scene inside the Amazon Warehouse on Friday night as 39-year-old Craig Yost watched helplessly as the building began to collapse around him.
“The walls caved in, and I got pinned to the ground by a giant block of concrete,” said Craig Yost. “I was pinned down on my left hip with my right hip and my right shoulder holding a chunk of concrete. On top of my left knee was a door from the bathroom stall, and my head was on that with my left arm wrapped around my head. I could just move my right hand and foot.”
Yost had been working as a contracted delivery driver at the warehouse for two months. It was around 8:15 p.m. on Friday night when he returned to the facility after finishing his route.
“They’re telling people just park your van and go to the shelter,” he said. “Where’s the shelter? The bathrooms? Okay, so I parked the van and go to the bathroom. They had people directing others to the bathroom, and that’s where we sat and waited.”
Yost says out of the two bathrooms in the warehouse, he was directed to go to the bathroom located in the south part of the building. That’s where he and other workers waited out the tornado warning.
“Part of me wanted to leave because, you know, I’d always rather be at home if something bad is happening,” he said. “The other part of me is from the Midwest and I’ve seen a ton of tornado warnings.”
He tells News 4 it was around 8:30 p.m. when the walls started falling.
“I had a broken pelvic bone, tail bone, broken thigh bone near the hip that required three screws, bruising everywhere,” he said. “Swelling all around my head because the concrete…was like a slow trash compactor.”
He says he was near other workers who would later be identified as the victims of warehouse collapse. Yost describes the room they were is no bigger than the size of his room at SLU Hospital. Thankfully, a fellow worker who was able to hear Yost call for help got EMS and rescue to find him.
“When I heard Joe, I knew that was my only chance,” said Yost. “Thank God he did what he did [because] I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”
Yost was airlifted to SLU hospital just after midnight on Friday. It is where remains today as he slowly begins to recover from his injuries.
“This is the first time I’ve been out of that bed, off of my back since they pulled me out of that rubble,” said Yost. “I don’t know how long I’m going to be in this particular room, how long I’m going to be next before rehab.”
While he potentially faces months before he makes a full recovery, he is feeling fortunate that he can return home and is hurting for the six victims who cannot do the same.
“It was just earlier today when I learned all the names of the people who weren’t so fortunate, and that was not easy. It was extremely difficult actually,” said Yost. “They were doing just what they were told.”
One of those victims, dispatcher Kevin Dickey, was someone Yost got to know a little bit more closely while working as a driver.
“The dispatcher is the only person the driver talks to, mostly through the day for the most part,” said Yost. “He was the best. I loved that guy. I didn’t know him long, but he was one of those dudes that you didn’t need to know him long to know he was a good guy. And when I heard his name today it was rough.”
A GoFundMe has since been set up to help Yost and his family while he is out of work recovering. While his hospital stay is covered by his employer, he is not sure how much additional help he will receive. At the time News 4 spoke with Yost, Amazon had not yet reached out to him.
“For me it was a wakeup call, like I went from joking in a room with some guys I know to being in a spot that could’ve been my life,” he said. “Don’t take any of it for granted because nothing is promised.”
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