1 still missing after large fire at QVC in Rocky Mount; company providing shut down pay for nearly 2,000 workers

State - Regional

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) — One person is missing after a massive fire at the QVC distribution center near Rocky Mount in Edgecombe County.

The Rocky Mount Fire Department says they received reports about the fire at 2:06 a.m. Saturday.
About 300 employees were working in the building at the time.

“We’ve heard from a family here in the county that a family member was working last night, and they have not heard from them since so, of course, that’s concerning,” said Eric Evans, Edgecombe County Manager.

For hours several hours, crews including the North Carolina Forest Service, worked both in the air and on the ground to put out the fire. The 1.2 million square foot facility is the largest building in Edgecombe County.

The Rocky Mount Fire Department estimates about 75 percent of the one building is damaged.

QVC said nearly 2,000 workers are employed at the site, spread out over three shifts.

The company says they are providing shut down pay to all team members due to the facility’s closure.

“Obviously, our concern now is for the employees who work there at QVC. There are state resources available to help them apply for assistance,” said Evans.

Late Saturday afternoon, officials said the fire was only 60 to 70 percent contained.

“You have hot spots burning throughout the building, we’re trying to gain access to it and make sure that we maintain scene safety,” said Rocky Mount Fire Chief Corey Mercer.

The fire department says the cause of the fire is still unknown.

“It will most likely be at least Monday for investigations to determine a cause of origin and this will be conducted by the Edgecombe County North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshal, the FBI and the ATF,” said Mercer.

QVC says they are working with law enforcement to investigate the cause of the fire.

During a news conference Saturday afternoon, fire officials said they have been to the facility multiple times in the past because of employees activating false fire alarms.

Edgecombe County fire chief James Bowen said that when fire crews responded to the “multiple” false alarms in the past they were told by QVC security officers that the calls were because of employees stealing items.

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