The body of a missing 21-year-old man was found inside a QVC distribution facility following huge fire – after the home shopping network claimed everyone had escaped to safety.
Authorities in Rocky Mount, North Carolina said search and rescue teams found the body of Kevon Ricks on the outbound side of the loading dock Sunday morning.
He was a devoted father-of-one who’d started working at the QVC warehouse just three weeks prior to his tragic death. It is unclear how he died, with an investigation ongoing.
The blaze ripped through the building Saturday morning just after 2 a.m. Fire officials said 75 percent of the structure was destroyed from the fire.
‘This is a very active and fresh investigation,’ said Edgecombe County manager Eric Evans during a press conference on Sunday afternoon. ‘[We’re] not able to answer any questions at this point and time, but thank you for being here.’
The fire was so powerful that 45 crews from six fire departments responded and worked for several hours to extinguish it. Crews were working around-the-clock, running 12-hour shifts.
QVC officials had previously claimed that ‘everyone inside the center made it out safely.’ They have yet to comment on their error.
Ricks, according to family members, was the father of a 1-year-old boy named Kylan and had just begun working at the QVC factory a few weeks ago. They said he was last heard from at 1:15 a.m. Saturday morning.
Kevon’s aunt, Stephanie Randolph, thanked everyone for their prayers and shared the news about her missing nephew.
‘I really wish he would’ve made it out,’ she said. [It’s] just a tragic turn of events.’
It was Randolph who alerted police that Ricks was still missing.
‘I went to QVC and I let the state trooper know, ‘look, I’m sorry but we’ve got one person missing. We’ve not heard from him,” she said.
Randolph also thanked firefighters for trying to save her nephews’ life.
‘Y’all did what you could… couldn’t move no faster than you did,’ she said.
For now, Randolph says that Kevon’s family is focusing on taking care of one another as we hit the holiday season.
‘Only thing we’re worried about is making sure his son is well taken care of, making sure his mom gets the proper help that she needs to deal with and making sure all the family is good,’ said Randolph.
The cause of the blaze is yet to be determined. Fire officials said that there was a history of incidents here, having responded to the area multiple times for false alarms.
Around 1,200 people work at the QVC facility and the local chamber of commerce claimed up to 2,500 families will be impacted by the fire. The facility has been in operation for 21 years.
QVC has promised to provide shutdown pay to all workers through the end of the month, as they continue to assess the next steps for 2022.
Governor Roy Cooper tweeted out a lamentation of Ricks’ death Sunday.
‘I’m saddened by the loss of life during the QVC Distribution Center fire in Rocky Mount,’ Cooper wrote. ‘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.’
Tributes poured in for Ricks from family members on Facebook, including his fiance Dyamon Skinner, aunt Stephanie Randolph and sister TyNasha.
‘He was just getting the hang of parenthood, we both were,’ wrote fiance Dyamon. ‘He walking around looking for [Kylan], and I just don’t know what to tell him. I just don’t know.. this is a wound that will NEVER heal.’
‘Ima Miss all the memories me and my brother had,’ TyNasha wrote. ‘That was my BESTFRIEND and everybody knew tht.’
‘We breathing without breathing,’ exclaimed Randolph. ‘Help us carry his name above and beyond for his Son and family.’