"The body has been found in the facility," an official said at a briefing Sunday afternoon. "This is a very active and fresh investigation."
Officials confirmed on social media the body of missing employee, Kevon Ricks, was found. The family of Ricks told ABC11 they were informed of the discovery Sunday morning.
Edgecombe county officials posted to statement Sunday afternoon:
"On 12/19/2021, at approximately 11:30 am, Fire Search and Recover members located a body on the outbound side of the loading dock of QVC. At 4:00 pm today the body was positively identified as 21-year-old Kevon Ricks.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Mr. Ricks as well as all team members affected by this tragedy."
I’m saddened by the loss of life during the QVC Distribution Center fire in Rocky Mount. I’ve been in contact with local and state officials about that tragedy and taking steps to help families hurt by the loss of more than 2000 jobs. - RC— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) December 19, 2021
Firefighters were dispatched to the QVC Distribution Center in Rocky Mount early Saturday morning to respond to the large fire.
The large QVC building is located off Highway 64 and Kingsboro Road.
"I needed help. This was not a one man show," said Chief James Bowen of the Heartsease Volunteer Fire Department.
Forty-five crews from six agencies responded and worked for several hours to extinguish the flames. Bowen said crews are working around-the-clock, running 12-hour shifts.
"At this time, we are focused on the safety and well-being of our team members," a QVC spokesperson told ABC11. "In addition, we are also working to understand the full impact to products and orders and will provide further details to our customers are soon as they are available. We are working with the local authorities to investigate the source of this issue and will provide another update when appropriate."
During a news conference Saturday afternoon, Edgecombe County Manger Eric Evans relayed information from QVC, in which the company shared they believed everybody was able to get out. However, the county acknowledged they did receive a report from the family member of one worker missing.
"Our Sheriff's Office is aware of that and other officials are certainly working very hard to confirm that this gentleman is in fact OK," said Evans.
Saturday evening, the family continued to worry about Ricks.
"I've been crying all day. I'm not hurt for just myself, not just for his mother, not just for his son. I'm hurt for my son. I'm hurt for people who know he's a humble guy. He's a great person," said Stephanie Randolph.
Randolph said Ricks has not been heard from by family since 1:15 Saturday morning, while he was on his break at the distribution center, when he spoke with his fiancée on the phone. Concerned about his safety, Randolph reached out directly to authorities to alert them.
"I went to (the) QVC (Distribution Center) and I let the state trooper know, 'look, I'm sorry but we've got one person missing. We've not heard from him,'" said Randolph.
Timothy Richardson, who works at the distribution center, was about to return from his break just before 2 a.m. Saturday.
"As soon as I got to the door, the fire alarm went off and they turned us around," Richardson recalled.
He rushed to the parking lot and shared video of the flames engulfing the building on Facebook Live.
"I couldn't believe it was going on," said Richardson.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, with authorities noting there have been no arrests.
The QVC Distribution Center has been in the area for 21 years, and is one of the largest local employers, with the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce posting on Facebook that up to 2,500 families would be affected. The Chamber said it is collecting donations for affected employees.
"This is devastating for our county. It is very difficult, this is a blow to our local economy. But most importantly, we are concerned about the employees who work at that facility and want you to know that there's lots of resources that we're working very hard to coordinate," said Evans.
QVC pledged to provide shutdown pay to all team members through the end of the month, as they continue to assess the next steps for 2022.
If you have any information on this fire, officials encourage you to call the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office.
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