Deadly SouthPark construction site fire started accidentally, chief says

CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Fire Department confirmed Friday the cause of the deadly fire at a SouthPark construction site was accidental.

According to Charlotte Fire Chief Reginald Johnson, the fire began on the ground floor of an apartment building that was under construction. Flames broke out around 9 a.m. Thursday at the building located on Liberty Row Drive.


Chief Johnson confirmed at a news conference Friday that two bodies were recovered from the debris.

On Thursday, family members confirmed to Channel 9 that construction worker Demonte Sherrill, 30, died in the fire. Keith Suggs, the manager of Atlanta-based Prestige Windows and Doors, confirmed to Channel 9 that a second worker was killed in the fire. He said both Sherrill and the other victim worked for him. Channel 9 is not naming the second victim at this time out of respect for his family.

Johnson said the bodies were sent to the medical examiner’s office, where they will verify the identities of both men.

>>You can watch city leaders give the update below.

Charlotte Fire’s investigation determined the fire began accidentally and started in a spray insulation foam trailer on the ground floor, Johnson said. Workers shared that same information with Channel 9 on Thursday.

Fire investigators aren’t exactly sure what started the blaze and haven’t been able to do a thorough investigation of the trailer.

“We seldom have large fires of this magnitude,” Johnson said.

“On behalf of the men and women at the Charlotte Fire Department, we want to make sure we send our condolences to [the victims’] family and friends,” Johnson added.

Firefighters rescued 15 workers inside the building, including the crane operator.

Firefighters delivered protective clothing to him until he could climb down to safety, Johnson said.

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