ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) – QVC will lay off more than 1,900 employees after a distribution facility was destroyed by fire in December.
About 1.5 million square feet of the QVC distribution center went up in flames on Dec. 18. The facility is the company’s second-biggest.
Kevon Ricks, 21, was killed in the blaze.
According to documents from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, QVC will lay off 1,953 employees in total effective Feb. 1.
The paperwork filed with the Department of Commerce said the facility will permanently close but QVC said “no long term decision about the site has been made.”
“We are still assessing the impact of the fire and, while we haven’t made any long-term decisions about the site, we already know the building will be closed for an extended period and there will not be work there for the team for the foreseeable future,” a QVC spokesperson said in a statement to CBS 17.
The company had previously extended its shutdown pay through Feb. 1 after previously offering $500 in emergency allowance to every Rocky Mount employee.
After Feb. 1, “applicable separation benefits will begin for impacted team members,” QVC said. All those who lose their jobs will be eligible to receive at least four weeks of separation pay or a lump sum equivalent.
The cause of the fire has not been released.
The ATF is helping in the investigation.
Even in the economically depressed Nash and Edgecombe counties, other area employers said they’ll hire those who used to work at QVC.
“We have agencies working with them and QVC is working with them to match opportunities for employment in the Rocky Mount area,” Farris said. “The phone is ringing off the hook with people saying keep our company in mind because I need this or this or that.”
The fire also spurred the community to set up a fund to help employees.
“We’re getting checks from California, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Florida from individuals that have reached out to this fund,” Farris said
The fire fund has collected about $300,000 and organizers are hoping it will top out $1.5 million.
It’ll be used to help employees over and above their unemployment benefits.
“Perhaps they need a little help with rent, medicine, or a mortgage payment,” Farris said. “We will have those funds to help them as best we can.”
The local United Way is in charge of that fund.
There will be a vetting process for anyone seeking funding.
The money should become available to QVC employees by mid to late February.