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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

ATF Press Release

Contact: Corey Ray
For Immediate Release
Thursday, December 8, 2022

Investigators List Cause of QVC Fire as Undetermined

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with multiple local and state investigators, have concluded that the cause of a major structural fire at a QVC distribution center in North Carolina is undetermined.

“After a yearlong investigation, a team of very committed investigators representing ATF and area partners have listed the cause of this devastating fire as undetermined,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Bennie Mims. “Every angle was evaluated and all possible causes were investigated thoroughly. The primary goal is to find out if the cause is accidental, natural, or incendiary. In the end, investigators found that there was not enough evidence to support an exact cause of the fire.”

“Investigators looked very closely at whether or not this was a criminal act,” added SAC Mims. “Throughout the investigation, there has been no evidence discovered which would support any findings that the cause of this fire was a result of criminal activity.”

On Dec. 18, 2021, multiple crews from six counties responded to a fire at 100 QVC Blvd. in Rocky Mount, N.C. The fire, now declared to be the largest structural fire in N.C. history, claimed the life of employee Kevon Ricks and destroyed approximately 75% of the 1.5 million square foot facility.

“We have met with the family of Mr. Ricks to discuss the work over the last year and the efforts made to bring the family closure,” said Edgecombe County Sheriff Clee Atkinson. “While a specific cause could not be found, we hope the Ricks’ family and everyone impacted by the fire knows that every effort was made and every resource was used to make sure this investigation was as thorough as possible.”

“This incident has left a permanent mark on the community and our department,” stated Rocky Mount Fire Department Fire Chief Corey Mercer. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with all the agencies that responded to this tragic event. The combined effort between local, state, and national resources was critical for mitigating this incident. These partnerships are invaluable to our agency and our community.”

The investigation involved ATF’s National Response Team and area ATF Special Agents, along with the RMFD, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office, the Edgecombe County Fire Marshal, and the N.C. Department of Insurance. Investigators conducted 379 interviews with former employees and first responders. A tip line was established and a reward for information was offered to help gather information.

“Investigators made every effort to gather as much information as possible and evaluate every theory, tip, and lead brought forward,” said SBI Director Robert Schurmeier. “This team has looked into every contributable factor, including the equipment and infrastructure of the facility, the types of products in the area of the fire’s origin, and employee actions and whereabouts. In the end, science has helped explain and dismiss a majority of the possible causes.”

“While this investigation is considered complete, we’ll continue to maintain our tip line and encourage anyone with additional information to call in,” said SAC Mims. “We appreciate the cooperation from the community over the last year and would welcome any new information that might impact our findings.”


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