2 dead after fire rips through SouthPark construction site

CHARLOTTE — Channel 9 has confirmed a second person has died after a fire ripped through a construction site in Charlotte’s SouthPark neighborhood.

The fire broke out Thursday morning at an apartment complex that was under construction. Charlotte Fire’s investigation determined it began accidentally and started in a spray insulation foam trailer on the ground floor, Johnson said. Workers had shared that same information with Channel 9 on Thursday.

Construction worker Demonte Sherrill, 30, died in the fire, family members confirmed. Charlotte Fire later confirmed the second man’s name was Ruben Holmes.


Keith Suggs, the manager of Atlanta-based Prestige Windows and Doors, previously confirmed to Channel 9 that Holmes was killed in the fire. He said both Sherrill and Holmes worked for him.

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Suggs said Sherrill was only on his third day of work at the site -- he started working for Suggs on Tuesday. Sherrill and Holmes were the only two workers Suggs said he had at the site on Thursday when the fire broke out. The two were working to install doors.

Suggs told Channel 9 he was actually at the construction site Thursday but left before the fire started. He said both Sherrill and Holmes were on the sixth floor with their harnesses on.

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.”

The five-alarm blaze happened on Liberty Row Drive near Fairview Road. The fifth alarm was struck just before 10 a.m.

Charlotte Fire Chief Reginald Johnson said firefighters rescued 15 workers from the building, including one who was on a crane. Paramedics said he was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. They said two more people were evaluated but were not transported.

The fire moved rapidly because of the amount of exposed wood at the site, the chief said.

“The men and women of the Charlotte Fire Department send our deepest condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Mr. Sherill and Mr. Holmes,” Charlotte Fire said in a statement Tuesday.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

(WATCH PREVIOUS: ‘A good man’: Father of 4 dies in construction site fire in SouthPark, family says)

Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz, wsoctv.com

Hunter is a reporter for Channel 9.