Heroes in SouthPark fire officially recognized for ‘heroism and selflessness’

CHARLOTTE — One month after the deadly SouthPark construction site fire, the Charlotte Fire Department received an official commendation from North Carolina representatives.

The commendation ceremony took place at the Charlotte Fire Headquarters Friday morning.

“As the buildings collapsed, firefighters needed to evacuate for their safety, but later heroically went back to protect lives and property,” the commendation reads. “The Charlotte community and the entire State of North Carolina are grateful for the heroism and selflessness of the Charlotte Fire Department.”

Fire Chief Reginald Johnson and four of the crews who responded accepted the commendation from members of the Mecklenburg delegation of N.C. General Assembly.

Two construction workers, Demonte Sherrill and Ruben Holmes, died in the fire in May.

30-year-old Sherrill was the father of four children, ages 5 to 13. His mother told Channel 9 he was a loving father and caring person.

“He was a good man,” Onita Sherrill said. “And he just wanted to be with his children, his family.”

>> GoFundMe for Sherill’s family

Our partners at the Charlotte Observer reported that Holmes was from Huntsville, Alabama. He was single and had no children of his own, but family members told the Observer that he was “the uncle we could go to and talk about anything.”

Investigators found the building that caught fire did not meet North Carolina fire code. Matthews Fire Chief Rob Kinniburgh told Channel 9 that the building was at this most vulnerable period when the fire occurred.

“Once a fire was to start, there is very little other than human effort to slow that fire growth,” Kinniburgh said. “‘Would a standpipe have made a difference if one was working in this instance?’ It may have. But then again, it may not. The extremely rapid fire growth may not have afforded the firefighters the time they needed to get that standpipe in operation.”


(WATCH -- ‘Chaotic scene’: Witnesses describe blaze at SouthPark construction site)

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