Fire destroys most of QVC distribution center in North Carolina; 1 body found

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — A fire caused extensive damage to a QVC distribution center in North Carolina on Saturday.

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Crews from nearly 45 fire departments across six counties fought the blaze at the home-shopping television network facility, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

Update 4:22 p.m. EST Dec. 19: Officials said Sunday that a body was found at the QVC distribution center near Rocky Mount, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

Edgecombe County Manager Eric Evans confirmed the discovery of a body during a news conference on Sunday, WRAL-TV reported. That person has not been identified, but the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office is trying to find the whereabouts of Kevon Ricks, 21, who was listed as missing, the television station reported.

Original report: More than 300 employees were working at the 1.2 million-square-foot facility when the fire was reported shortly after 2 a.m., Edgecombe County Manager Eric Evans said at a news conference.

According to officials with QVC, all employees safely evacuated the warehouse, and all but one worker has been accounted for, the News & Observer reported.

The Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office is looking for that person, Evans said.

Approximately 75% of the building was damaged, Rocky Mount Fire Chief Corey Mercer told reporters.

“This is devastating for our county, this is a blow to our local economy, but most importantly, we’re concerned about the employees who work at that facility,” Evans told reporters. “We want you to know there are lots of resources that we’re working very hard to coordinate to make sure that we can provide the assistance that we need to them.

“As far as we know right now, no one was hurt and no one lost their life here,” Evans added.

Timothy Richardson, an employee at QVC, was at the facility.

“As soon as we got to the door, we heard the fire alarm,” Richardson told WRAL-TV. “That is when we saw the flames all over the top of the building.

“I lost my job.”

The distribution center normally employs about 1,200 workers, but QVC usually hires hundreds more during the holiday season, according to the News & Observer.

The facility was built in 1999 and was expanded in 2011, WRAL reported.

“It’s a sad day for Rocky Mount, and I just want to applaud all the first responders,” Mike Causey, the state insurance commissioner and fire marshal, told reporters.

The center is one of the largest employers in Rocky Mount, a city of about 54,000 people, according to The New York Times.

“At this time, we are focused on the safety and well-being of our team members,” QVC said in a statement. “In addition, we are also working to understand the full impact to products and orders and will provide further details to our customers and vendor community as soon as they are available.”

The cause of the fire will be determined on Monday, fire officials told WRAL.