Tornado causes death, destruction in east Baltimore Co.
Two people were killed after a tornado led to a partial collapse at the Amazon distribution warehouse on Holabird Avenue on Nov. 2.
Officials have identified the victims as Andrew Lindsey, 54, and Israel Espana Argote, 37. Both of the men, thirdparty contractors working at the site, were trapped when a 50-foot wall collapsed in the storm. Lindsey was found under debris Friday night; he was pronounced dead at the hospital. Argote’s body was found Saturday morning.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has confirmed that an EF-1 tornado with winds of up to 105 mph traveled along a 2.5-mile path down Holabird Avenue on Friday night.
An EF-1 tornado is classified as having winds between 86 and 100 mph.
The tornado also tore the roof off of a building at the Holabird East apartment complex in the 1600 block of Four Georges Court, displacing 64 people, including 40 adults and 24 children.
The Red Cross assisted the residents, most of whom have found shelter with family and friends, according to Baltimore County public safety officials. Residents are expected to be displaced from their apartments for an extended period of time.
NWS reported that the tornado touched down at 9:42 p.m. Friday night, overturning a tractor trailer on I-95 by the Fort McHenry Tunnel. The tornado blew over a fence on South Newkirk Street before traveling along Holabird Avenue. Two large doors at Flexi-Van Leasing in the 4900 block of Holabird Avenue were also damaged.
According to NWS, the tornado reached its peak, with winds of 105 mph, as it encountered the Amazon center.
“There it blew off the roof of a portion of the building, including iron rafters,” the report noted.
As the roof blew off, a concrete wall under it fell into the building, trapping the two victims.
In addition, several trucks were blown over or overturned completely, signs and lights were blown over and car windows smashed by debris.
As it left Amazon, the tornado continued its path down Holabird Avenue, uprooting and damaging trees before lifting up as it reached Dundalk Avenue.
The tornado again touched down briefly at the Holabird East Apartments, pulling the roof off of a building.
Following the tornado, Gov. Hogan released a statement via Twitter.
“Saddened to learn of 2 deaths following the collapse of a building due to severe weather in Southeast Baltimore,” he wrote. “[Maryland Emergency Management Agency] is coordinating closely with Baltimore City officials, & state agencies are assisting the city as they clean up and repair the damage.”
He added, “My sincerest condolences go out to the families and friends of the victims, and our administration stands ready to assist Baltimore City and other areas impacted by this severe weather in any way we can.”
Emergency personnel look over damage, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, after a weather-related building collapse at an Amazon distribution warehouse on Baltimore’s southeast side Friday night. Chief Roman Clark tells the Sun that a 50-foot wall collapsed late Friday at the Amazon Fulfillment Center as a storm hit the area.