Community honors Charlotte firefighters following deadly SouthPark fire

CHARLOTTE — Thursday marked one week since a large fire engulfed an under-construction apartment building in SouthPark.

The community honored the men and women of the Charlotte Fire Department who responded to the deadly fire. A total of 90 firefighters saved 15 workers.

On Thursday, the first 30 firefighters who responded were invited on stage at this week’s SouthPark After Five Concert at Symphony Park as the community thanked them for their bravery.

Thousands attended the event.

“It’s an honor to be here because these firefighters risked their lives to save us and I have a cousin who is a firefighter in New York,” said attendee Diane Montero-Heyert. “So, I personally know what that feels like he was also in 9/11 at the World Trade Center so I know day to day it’s a risk for them.”

A moment of silence was held to honor the two construction workers who died, Ruben Holmes and Demonte Sherill.

“So please, if you’re willing, take off your cap, whatever way you worship and even if you don’t worship, let’s acknowledge this loss,” Mayor Vi Lyles said.

Channel 9′s Almiya White spoke with Charlotte City Councilmember Tariq Bokhari, who created a Gofundme to help Sherill’s family.

“This community has a heart for stuff like that. We rally up when it’s time, and I just knew that this is something where, you know, with a little bit of work, we can do something really good,” Bokhari said.

Sherrill and Holmes worked for Keith Suggs of Prestige Windows. Suggs said he was touched by the gesture of sympathy.

“God gave him to me and I appreciate Ruben so much,” Suggs said. “Demonte, he had the four kids. He just wanted to take care of the kids.”

Charlotte Fire Capt. Jeff Bright orchestrated the harrowing rescue of a crane operator.

Bright said they became friends, which was the best thanks he could receive.

“I’ve had conversations with him for the last five days,” Bright said. “No appreciation will be greater than him calling me.”

For more information about the SouthPark After Five concert, click here.


(WATCH BELOW: Charlotte firefighters closer to earning raise following deadly SouthPark fire)

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV