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Amazon employees on Staten Island fume at management, claim they were put at risk following earlier fire at facility

Employees say Amazon put health at risk after S.I. warehouse fire
Employees say Amazon put health at risk after S.I. warehouse fire 01:55

NEW YORK -- There was an uproar at the Amazon warehouse on Staten Island during the overnight hours, with employees claiming the company put their health at risk after a fire.

About 100 workers staged a march through the warehouse facility in the Bloomfield section of the borough on Monday night, demanding to be sent home with pay.

"It's just point-blank an unsafe work environment," employee Leo Shockey told CBS2's Ali Bauman.

It started when a compactor caught fire by the loading dock at around 4 p.m. on Monday, shortly before the shift changeover.

Tristian Martinez took video and said, "It was at like 5:15 p.m. when they told us we could go home."

A half hour after daytime employees were told to leave, night shift employees started to arrive. They claim Amazon managers did not tell them about the fire.

"There was no message from Amazon whatsoever, so all of us just came to work in an unsafe environment not being told anything," employee Brett Daniels said.

The flames were extinguished, but employees claim the smoke still lingered.

"It started making me feel congested. My head was hurting. It was definitely a lot," Shockey said.

"They didn't show us proof it was safe to work there. They just told us just to work right through it," Eli Andino added.

In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson told CBS2, in part, "The FDNY certified the building is safe and at that point we asked all night shift employees to report to their regularly scheduled shift."

But while the FDNY told CBS2 it responded to a fire "outside" the building, it's unclear if fire officials ever inspected damage inside.

"I don't think it's right that I got paid to leave when it's no more unsafe for them than it was for me. It's just because they're losing more money by them missing a 10-hour shift than by me going home two hours early," Martinez said.

The ordeal happened just a few months after workers at the same warehouse voted to unionize, with Amazon appealing the results. Contract negotiations have since stalled.

There were no injuries reported from the fire.

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