“An autopsy has not been done, but they are assuming it may have been through smoke inhalation,” said Edgecombe County Manager Eric Evans.
The day after a QVC distribution center in North Carolina was destroyed by a fire, the body of 21-year-old worker Kevon Ricks was found Sunday at the facility.
“At approximately 11:30 am, Fire Search and Recover members located a body on the outbound side of the loading dock of QVC,” the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release posted on its Facebook page Sunday, as reported by CNN. “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,” the release states.
According to reports, at least 75% of the building was destroyed in the fire Saturday. “Fire had not actually touched that section of the building” where Ricks’ body was discovered, said Edgecombe County Manager Eric Evans.
“An autopsy has not been done, but they are assuming it may have been through smoke inhalation,” Evans added.
The fire ripped through the facility overnight and destroyed the main section.
“Obviously [there was] significant loss, but we are very hopeful it’s not a total loss and that they will be able to rebuild,” Evans said prior to the discovery of Ricks’ body. He acknowledged at the time that all of the center’s employees were accounted for after the blaze, except for one, but he did not specifically name Ricks.
This is 21 year old Kevon Ricks. Family members gave me permission to share this photo of him with his 1-year-old son. @EdgecombeCounty sheriffs office found Ricks body around 11:30a, officially confirming his identity around 4p. @QVC executives arrive Monhttps://t.co/lMgdxHDW4m pic.twitter.com/tpwDsDXCcx
— Tim Pulliam (@TimABC11) December 19, 2021
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, Rocky Mount Telegram reports.
“It’s devastating, but everybody is concerned, and everybody is pulling together for these employees and their families,” Evans said.
“The early pictures that I saw, which I’m sure you did, just looked like you were looking into the gates of hell with the flames,” said Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Farris.
“It’s just devastating for the QVC team members in our community,” Farris added. “It’s by far one of the most tragic things we’ve dealt with in recent times, but we’ll get through it. We’re a resilient community.”
Farris, who toured the damaged structure, described the scene as “sickening” and “heartbreaking.”
“Our sincere prayers and thoughts are with the families of the team members of QVC,” he said.
After the discovery of Ricks’ body, North Carolina 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 2000 jobs,” he posted.
“We are currently focused on our team. As we work to understand the full impact of this incident, including any impact to shipping and delivery, we’ll share further details,” QVC tweeted in a statement after the fire.
“We are standing by to understand what this means economically to employees and we are ready to assist in any way we can,” Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson said in a statement Saturday on his Facebook page, a day before Ricks’ body was recovered.
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