• The worker allegedly texted his girlfriend saying he can't leave until the storm passed
  • The tornado claimed the lives of 6 workers in Illinois
  • It was revealed that 45 people have made it out of the building safely

Employees at the Amazon warehouse that was ripped apart by a deadly tornado in Illinois were allegedly asked to stay put in the huge facility instead of heading back home.

The tornado struck the warehouse in Edwardsville on Friday night, leaving at least six workers dead and one injured. The victims are Deandre S. Morrow, 28, of St. Louis, Missouri; Kevin D. Dickey, 62, of Carlyle, Illinois; Clayton Lynn Cope, 29, of Alton, Illinois; Etheria S. Hebb, 34, of St. Louis; Larry E. Virden, 46, of Collinsville, Illinois, and Austin J. McEwen, 26, of Edwardsville, Illinois, the Edwardsville Police Department said in a statement Sunday.

One of the victims, Larry Virden, reportedly texted his girlfriend before the tornado struck, saying that the company had ordered him to stay in the building until the storm passed, instead of driving home, New York Post reported.

Virden was killed on Friday night after the roof of the massive facility came down.

"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,'" said his girlfriend Cherie Jones.

Jones added that she received the text around 8.23 p.m. Friday, around 15 minutes before disaster struck. Virden and Jones lived in Collinsville, which was just about 13 minutes from the warehouse.

A storm ripped through a massive Amazon warehouse in the state of Illinois where around 100 workers were left trapped inside
A storm ripped through a massive Amazon warehouse in the state of Illinois where around 100 workers were left trapped inside GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA via AFP / Michael Thomas

"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. I told him where we live, it was only lightning at the time. After that, I got nothing from him."

Virden, who joined Amazon five months ago, liked working at the company because he got to work outside, the girlfriend noted. She said she doesn't blame the company for his death, before adding, "It's that what-if situation: what if they would have let him leave? He could have made it home."

Jones said her children are having a difficult time coping with the loss of their father.

"My oldest boy, he thinks that daddy is going to come home, but now we have to tell him that daddy's not coming home. When my daughter came into the house, she was like 'Where's daddy? Where's daddy?’ And she started balling because she knew something was wrong. The youngest doesn't understand it either. We are really going to have to sit down with them," she said.

At least 45 people made it out of the Amazon building, and one person was airlifted to a regional hospital for treatment, Edwardsville Fire Chief James Whiteford said Saturday.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos dubbed the incident "tragic."

"We're deeply saddened by the news that members of our Amazon family passed away as a result of the storm in Edwardsville, IL. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, and everyone impacted by the tornado. We also want to thank all the first responders for their ongoing efforts on the scene. We're continuing to provide support to our employees and partners in the area," Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement Sunday.