Dispatch audio: Firefighters navigate quick-spreading SouthPark fire

CHARLOTTE — Dispatch audio gives a better idea of how crews first responded to the massive fire in SouthPark Thursday morning.

Channel 9′s DaShawn Brown listened to about 30 minutes of traffic we were able to obtain.


The fire began around 9 a.m. at an apartment complex that was under construction. Charlotte Fire Chief Reginald Johnson said firefighters rescued 15 workers from the building, including one who was on a crane. Two workers are still unaccounted for.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated, and crews were still working to put out hotspots into the evening.

Charlotte Fire Chief Reginald Johnson said crews were working in high heat conditions of over 2,000 degrees. He said because of the amount of exposed wood at the site, the fire moved rapidly.

Based on the dispatch audio, construction workers who were onsite first reported a trailer on fire inside a parking deck.

You’ve likely seen footage of flames engulfing the construction site in waves. In dispatch audio, Brown could hear crews planning out exactly how to attack the fire, yelling out exact locations for each of the hydrants they could access.

Brown pointed out how dense the smoke was that was pluming out of the structure. She heard at least three reports of someone who was struggling to breathe.

Near the end of the call, that’s when there’s an exchange from fire crews trying to locate two workers believed to be inside.

“I’ve got somebody telling me two people on six. Floor four, floor four -- correction. Check it out.”


“We’re on the opposite side of you. The contractor is saying we have a direct shot in from this side about 150 feet in. We’re going to make an attempt.”

Charlotte Fire said two workers are still unaccounted for and the search for them is ongoing.

Chief Johnson said there were two mayday calls while firefighters responded because their exits from the site were blocked or impeded.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department commended the first responders at the scene.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the fire in SouthPark today. We commend @charlottefire for their heroic efforts. Thank you to our Officers who also responded to provide continued support and keep the area secured. We’d also like to thank @MecklenburgEMS for their response as well as fire departments from surrounding counties that assisted. We have incredible public safety partners!”

(WATCH: Intense moments during a massive fire in SouthPark)

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