QVC North Carolina fire drew 45 emergency crews to Rocky Mount
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. -- One person is reportedly still missing after a large fire broke out at a QVC distribution center in North Carolina early Saturday morning.
Firefighters were dispatched to the shopping network's distribution center in Rocky Mount, North Carolina early Saturday to respond to a large fire.
"I needed help. This was not a one man show," said Chief James Bowen, who is with a local 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 ABC Raleigh, North Carolina affiliate WTVD. "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 identified the worker as Kevon 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 a.m. Saturday morning, while he was on his break at the distribution center, when he spoke with his fiancee 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.
Randolph is urging anybody who may have seen Ricks in the area at the time to share information.
"If (Kevon is) in the building and still surviving through all of this - yell. Yell as loud as you can. Because my heart is there with you. I want you out of there. I need you alive," Randolph said.
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.