St. Thomas, Ontario: An investigation is underway after an Amazon worker tragically died following a fire alarm evacuation at the fulfilment centre in St. Thomas, Ontario, on Sunday, January 14th.
The incident occurred just outside London, and involved workers being sent outside on a bitterly cold night. Amazon has refuted rumours circulating online, stating that workers were not prevented from staying warm in their vehicles during the evacuation. Spokesperson Maureen Lynch Vogel emphasized their commitment to safety, stating, “There’s nothing more important than our employees’ health and safety. We ensured the site was evacuated quickly and provided warm weather kits to help keep everyone warm and comfortable.”
Environment Canada records indicate a windchill of -25°C at the time of the fire alarm at 11:10 pm. Employees were evacuated, with fire crews responding promptly. They were allowed back inside by 11:27 pm.
The Ministry of Labour is investigating the incident. In a statement, they confirmed that the worker “was found unresponsive at their workstation.” Amazon is cooperating fully with the investigation.
According to Amazon, the worker along with others spent around 45 minutes warming up in the break room before returning to their workstations. The company claims the deceased collapsed near a water cooler for unknown reasons, with emergency services responding quickly.
“We’re deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague,” Lynch Vogel expressed, offering condolences to the family and loved ones. Amazon confirmed providing counselling services and encouraging employees to access resources through their Employee Assistance Program. While not speculating on the cause of death, they believe the incident was not work-related.
Regarding claims about being forced out of vehicles during evacuation, Amazon denied them. They clarified that a site leader may have approached cars to ensure everyone’s whereabouts, provide warming kits, and inform them of the re-entry clearance.
Due to the ongoing investigation, the Ministry of Labour is unable to provide further details at this time.