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Body found at North Carolina QVC distribution center after five-alarm fire

The deceased has been identified as 21-year-old Kevon Ricks, officials said.

A 21-year-old man was found dead at the QVC distribution center in North Carolina on Sunday, a day after a five-alarm fire burned through the facility.

Fire Search and Recovery members had located a body "on the outbound side of the loading dock" at the QVC building in Rocky Mount, the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

They said the deceased had been identified as 21-year-old Kevon Ricks, with QVC identifying the man as a contractor at the site.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Mr. Ricks as well as all team members affected by this tragedy,” the statement from the sheriff's office said.

It comes after fire crews were called to the QVC center, a major employer in the area, at around 2a.m. on Saturday for a fire that was eventually declared a five-alarm blaze, the sheriff's office said in an earlier statement.

"As members of local law enforcement and fire departments began to arrive it was determined that there was a fire inside one of the main warehouses," the statement said.

Workers were still on the job at the facility when the fire broke out and the sheriff’s office had said one person had been unaccounted for.

Firefighters work on cleanup after a fire ripped through a distribution center for the QVC home-shopping television network in Rocky Mount, N.C. on Dec. 18, 2021.Tom Copeland / AP

Speaking to CBS 17, Stephanie Randolph, a woman who identified herself as Ricks' aunt, said her family had been worried after not hearing anything from Ricks after the fire at the QVC facility was reported.

“We went out there to go see him but of course they’re not letting people in, so I hopped on Facebook to see pictures, and I seen his mom say she hadn’t talked to him,” she said.

Randolph said she decided to make her way to the facility herself, saying: “I parked and hopped out and talked to (a) state trooper. I was like ‘no, one person is missing that works third shift'."

"Immediately he said let’s go Miss Randolph,” she said.

On Sunday, Ricks' family members received the news that he had been found dead.

Randolph said she was feeling "fear. Hurt. Anger" over the incident.

"More anger than anything," she said, as she and her family looked for answers into what caused Saturday's events.

Randolph said Ricks had only been working at the facility for three weeks before the blaze broke out. She said he leaves behind a young son.

In a statement on Sunday, QVC said it was “heartbroken to learn of the passing of one of our contractor colleagues.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Kevon’s family and friends,” the home-shopping network said.

It said it was working with Ricks’ employer to see what could collectively be done to support his family.

The company said there would be a facility shutdown until at least Dec. 31, with shutdown pay to be provided to all team members unable to work. QVC said it was “actively assessing next steps for 2022.”

“Our continued focus is on all our impacted team members and ensuring their well-being and safety in this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of them as well,” it said, adding that it had created a hotline for team members to get information on the incident and had set up a site for workers to receive support.

“For our customers, we are still working to understand the impact to their orders and returns,” the company added as it said: “We appreciate our customers’ patience and their outpouring of support to our Rocky Mount team.”

As the incident unfolded on Saturday, the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office said dozens of agencies at the local, state and federal level assisted in trying to contain the blaze.

It is still unclear what caused the fire.

The sheriff's office said no arrests had been made in connection with the blaze, which is being investigated by the sheriff's office, as well as by the North Carolina SBI, the North Carolina Office of State Fire Marshal, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In a statement posted on Twitter, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper he was "saddened by the loss of life during the QVC Distribution Center 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 said.

Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson said his office was "standing by to understand what this means economically to employees."

In a statement posted on Facebook, he said his office was "ready to assist in any way we can."