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EF-1 Tornado Was Factor In Fatal Amazon Building Collapse

BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ) -- A tornado was the cause of the fatal building collapse in Baltimore Friday.

The National Weather Service confirmed Saturday that a EF-1 tornado touched down along the Baltimore city-county line.

According to Baltimore Fire Chief Roman Clark, firefighters responded to a call for a partial building collapse at the Amazon facility at the same time when severe weather rolled through the region.

2 Dead In 'Partial' Building Collapse At Baltimore Amazon Center

On Saturday morning, crews found a man's body in the rubble. They were told Friday night that one person was unaccounted for after they responded to the scene.

A man was found injured Friday and he was pronounced dead later at an area hospital.

The men killed in the Amazon building collapse Friday were identified as 54-year-old Andrew Lindsay and Israel Espana Argote. No age was provide for Argote.

It's the first fatal tornado in Maryland in 16 years.

According to Rachael Lighty, Regional Manager of External Communications for Amazon Operations, the two victims were third-party contractors and not Amazon employees.

Credit: Rachel Wyatt.
Credit: Rachel Wyatt.
Credit: Rachel Wyatt.
Credit: Rachel Wyatt.

It's been a long night for crews who have been on the scene since the call was made Friday.

They had to bring specialized equipment to move the rubble which includes concrete.

'It Sounded Like Bombs' | Amazon Employee Describes Building Collapse

According to the National Weather Service, a tornado touched down in Baltimore City at 9:42 p.m. causing the damage.

Initial damage was to a tractor-trailer, which was blown over on I-95 just north Fort McHenry tunnel, and a fence line that was blown over on South Newkirk street.

The tornado tracked east from there moving parallel to Holabird Avenue.

It blew in large garage doors on both sides of the Flexi-Van Leasing facility, according to the NWS.

The tornado then reached the Amazon facility, reaching a peak of 105 mph. It blew off the roof of the building, including iron rafters. An 8-inch concrete wall then collapsed into the building, killing two people.

About a dozen tractor-trailers were pushed over, moved or rolled by the wind and several car windows were blown out.

Then the tornado continued eat along the south side of Holabird Avenue, uprooting large trees and snapping dozens of large tree branches.

A Baltimore City firefighter saw the swirling debris and the funnel cloud as it passed.

The tornado lifted as it reached Dundalk Avenue.

NW said the tornado briefly touched down again at the Holabird East Apartments on 4 Georges Court in Dundalk, pulling off part of its roof.

The damage displaced residents.

A Mt. Airy TJ Maxx also reported damage from stormy weather.

Amazon released a statement Saturday about the incident.

"Last night, severe weather impacted one of our facilities in Baltimore City resulting in two fatalities. First responders remain onsite assessing the damage," said Dave Clark, Sr Vice President of Operations for Amazon. "The safety of our employees and contractors is our top priority and at this time the building remains closed. We are incredibly thankful for the quick response from emergency services. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families impacted by Friday evening's tragic event."

Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted his condolences Saturday.

This story is developing. Stay with WJZ for the latest.

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