Home shopping network QVC confirmed that one of its employees died in a fire at its Rocky Mount, North Carolina, distribution facility Saturday.
In a Facebook post, the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as 21-year-old Kevon Ricks, and QVC confirmed this in a statement released on Sunday.
According to the statement, investigators are still looking into what caused the fire. Edgecombe County Manager Eric Evans said it destroyed at least 70% of the facility. Nearly 45 different fire departments worked for over 12 hours to extinguish the fire as well as flare-ups that continued into Sunday.
Evans said the fire had not touched the section of the building where authorities discovered Ricks’ body.
“An autopsy has not been done, but they are assuming it may have been through smoke inhalation,” he added.
In QVC’s statement, the company said it would provide shutdown pay to all employees who cannot work due to the facility’s destruction through the end of the year and possibly longer. They also offered an information hotline and an in-person site for “one-on-one support.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Kevon’s family and friends,” the statement said. “We thank the first responders, state and local authorities who are still working to put out the fire so that they can investigate its cause. We are supporting them in their efforts, including working together to coordinate local resources for our team members, and we deeply appreciate their commitment to partnership and to the Rocky Mount community.”
More than 300 employees were working at the 1.2 million-square-foot facility when the fire started early Saturday.
On Saturday, Evans initially said all of the center’s employees appeared to be accounted for. Later, however, he said the sheriff’s office was looking for a worker who was missing after the fire.
Ricks’ relatives told WTVD-TV they hadn’t heard from him since the fire. A relative told the TV station they were informed of the body’s discovery.
Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted he was “saddened by the loss of life” during the fire.
“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 2,000 jobs,” he posted.
The statement from QVC on Sunday said the company was “still working to understand the impact” on customer orders.
“Our Customer Care representatives are prepared to help as this situation continues to evolve. We appreciate our customers’ patience and their outpouring of support to our Rocky Mount team,” the statement said.
QVC Inc. is based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Qurate Retail Inc. Evans said QVC is one of Edgecombe County’s largest employers.
“It’s devastating, but everybody is concerned and everybody is pulling together for these employees and their families,” he added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.